Training the Next Generation of Financial Jihadis: the International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA

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ON N O V E M B E R 2 6 , 2 0 1 2 · IN C R E E P I N G SHARIAH, DELORENZO, FATW A, ISRA,MALAYSIA, QARADAW I, SHARIAH BOARDS, SHARIAH FINANCE, SHARIAH LAW ,USMANI, ZAKAT

One of the challenges facing the Shariah Finance industry is a shortage of qualified Shariah scholars to serve as “advisers” to Shariah-compliant financial institutions. Not only is their a shortage of Shariah scholars, but many of the existing Shariah scholars are very old. Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi and Mufti Taqi Usmani are examples of the old men who control the industry. Qaradawi is 86 and Usmani is 69. The next generation of Shariah scholars is being groomed even as we speak and one organization central to that effort is Malaysia’s International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA). ISRA has taken a leading role in promoting Shariah worldwide through the financial backdoor with symposiums and events across the globe, like the one being held in Malaysia as this post is being written: http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v6/newsindex.php?id=711543 A close examination of ISRA is possible on the organization’s web site: http://www.isra.my Their Council of Scholars reads like a Who’s Who of the Shariah finance world: http://www.isra.my/information/council-of-scholars.html Note in particular Sheikh DeLorenzo, an American with ties to the Islamists in Pakistan and the infamous Islamic Saudi Academy in northern Virginia. Under ISRA’s fatwa section, they have an extensive section on “zakah,” which is usually spelled “zakat.”

Zakat, of course, is a form of tithing in Islam and it is of concern associated with Shariah finance because one of the acceptable destinations for zakat is essentially to violent Jihadist groups. Many apologists for Shariah finance dismiss these concerns and even profess ignorance of zakat, but ISRA’s extensive writings on the subject make it clear that zakat is a chief aspect of Shariahcompliant finance: http://www.isra.my/fatwas/topics/general/zakah.html

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