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Islam is not an exotic addition to the English country garden

Islam is not an exotic addition to the English country garden

Author(s):

Date Published: 
Saturday, 21 August, 2004
Summary: 

But when you look a little further into the question of Islamic banking, you find that it is not, in fact, required by Islam. Al-Azhar University, in Cairo, the main and ancient home of Sunni religious learning, teaches that "riba" means extortionate interest, not any interest at all, and that moderate interest should be permitted. Most Egyptian banks charge and pay interest. Even Muslims who reject this interpretation say that the doctrine of "extreme necessity" permits Muslims in non-Muslim countries to pay interest.

So what is being proposed with Islamic banking is actually a hardening of the religion, not an accommodation of its existing custom. It is rather as if Catholics, arriving in large numbers in a Muslim country, insisted that they must eat fish rather than meat on a Friday, a rule which has been dropped by the Church in modern times. And when you look at HSBC's Sharia Board you find that a couple of its members have links with the Deoband, the long-standing ultra-conservative group whose schools in Pakistan educated many of the Taliban.

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Islam means "submission" (not "peace") and it is the aim of Muslims ("those who have submitted") to make the whole world submit. The teaching seems not to envisage the idea of Muslims as a minority, except as a temporary phenomenon. The best that non-Muslims - in Britain that means Sikhs and Hindus, as well as Jews and Christians - can hope for is that they be treated as "dhimmis", second-class citizens within the Islamic state.