The GOP is bad for business, which means they’re bad for America


The Republican Party encourages every form of ...

Image by Cornell University Library via Flickr

All the talk about terrorism and fighting a war on terrorism led to the biggest American deficit in the history of our country, under the direction of George W. Bush…..you remember him don’t you?  Well the GOP doesn’t want you to, because they’d rather blame Obama and the Muslims.  Turns out the Republicans are their own worse enemy, brilliantly executing the cutting off of their own nose to spite the face of American business and the American people, what with all their talk about “sharia” law.  It’s a natural extension, “sharia” law and the Repub’s attempts to scare you about it, to the war on terror.  This bit of news shouldn’t come as a surprise

Islamic finance is growing, but politics, and perhaps prejudice, might be hamstringing this business in the United States.

In the past few years bills have been introduced in at least 20 states to forbid courts from invoking foreign laws in rulings. Proponents have touted the bills as a way to prevent Sharia, a code derived from Islamic law, from becoming the law of the land — a risk that many attorneys say is nonexistent. Arizona, Louisiana and Tennessee have passed “Sharia ban” laws, which critics call a way of scoring political points by exploiting anti-Muslim sentiment.

It is unclear whether those laws would directly affect the growth of Islamic finance, which follows the tenets of Sharia law, such as a ban on paying interest. But at the very least, the political climate for Muslims is certainly not fostering a welcoming environment for what experts call an emerging market.

“The U.S. is behind. There is a strong and rapidly growing Muslim population,” said Steven Watts, a partner with KPMG’s financial services consulting practice in Toronto. “The holdup seems to be largely political, but it is to the detriment of the U.S.”

Watts said there are more opportunities, namely “ethical” investments that avoid putting money in gambling or alcohol and could appeal to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

However, Sharia-compliant mortgages (which are permissible under Islamic law because they are structured as lease-back or co-ownership arrangements) are a great entrance to the Islamic finance world, he said.

“There’s not enough of a business to attract a major bank,” said Stephen Lange Ranzini, University’s president and chief executive officer. “It is a big enough niche for us to make a small profit.”

Ranzini said that while anti-Sharia legislation has largely been passed in states that have small Muslim populations, he sees it as harmful.

“Passing laws to ban Sharia when we have American soldiers in two Muslim countries and bases all across Europe where there are large minority Muslim populations is an ill-considered idea,” Ranzini said. “The people that are hyped up about this issue are just very uninformed.”

Ranzini said there are 300,000 Muslims in the United States who are renters, despite having the attributes of creditworthy borrowers.

“Bringing these Muslims onboard as homeowners is good public policy and would assist with solving the housing crisis,” Ranzini said.

’nuff said.

 

It’s time to call a spade a spade and a bigot a bigot


Muslim bashing by GOP candidates? Nothing new here
By John L. Esposito (I’m glad I’m not the only one who has noticed!)

It’s no surprise that two candidates could not resist playing the “Muslim card” in the recent GOP debate. The bigger surprise is that more candidates did not follow suit.

Park 51 (the plan to build the so-called mosque at ground zero) surfaced the deep roots of fear of Islam and Muslims and triggered a tsunami of hate crimes. Shariah has become the code word and symbol to exploit voters fears and engage in Islam and Muslim-bashing without any push-back because nobody, including most of the candidates, knows what it is. And lets us not forget the Peter King congressional hearings.

Poor Herman Cain knows shariah is a problem, but does not know what it is or why it is a problem? Cain is “uncomfortable” including a Muslim in his cabinet or having one as federal judge because “…there is creeping attempt to gradually ease Shariah Law and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong to our government.”

Cain insisted, “There have been instances in New Jersey and Oklahoma where Muslims did try to influence court decisions with Sharia Law.” Is he sure? If so, who, when and where? Why does fellow Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey refuse to toe that line? Pressed in the debate as to why he would not be comfortable having a Muslim in his administration, he replied, ‘I wouldn’t be comfortable because you have peaceful Muslims and militant Muslims – those that are trying to kill us. I meant the ones that are trying to kill us.’ So would he appoint African Americans, Hispanics, Italian-Americans and members of other groups associated with past crime waves or whose members have been imprisoned for violent crimes?

Cain wants to question Muslims about their commitment to the Constitution “to make sure we have people committed to the Constitution working for this country.” But he wouldn’t do the same with Christians or Jews. So much for equality of all citizens.

Newt Gingrich could not afford to be “left” behind: “I’m in favor of saying to people, ‘If you’re not prepared to be loyal to the United States, you will not serve in my administration, period.’ We did this in dealing with the Nazis and we did this in dealing with the communists and it was controversial both times, and both times we discovered, after a while, there are some genuinely bad people who would like to infiltrate our country. And we have got to have the guts to stand up and say no.”

So ALL Muslims, not just an infinitely small number of terrorists, are to be compared to Nazis and communists? Is that the magnitude of the threat? Gingrich and Cain should be real patriots and turn over their evidence to the FBI, Justice Department, Homeland Security and local police because law enforcement offices certainly have not found evidence to support these allegations.

Surprisingly, Tim Pawlenty did not weigh in. Pawlenty has touted the fact that he shut down a program for Sharia compliant mortgages, a program whose creation his administration initially supported. Of course you can’t blame him because, like other candidates, he knows that many potential voters from the right wing of the Republican Party believe Sharia-compliant finance is part of a stealth jihad to subvert the Constitution.

The far right is long on fear mongering and short on providing supportive evidence. They ignore major polls by Gallup, Pew and others that show that the vast majority of Muslims are politically, economically middle class and educationally integrated into American society. Their desire not to be confused by the facts contributes to a growing climate of Islamophobia that has led to discrimination, hate crimes, violence, desecration of mosques and the violation of the civil liberties of Muslim Americans. Surveys have shown that Muslims are not looking to install Islamic law in the U.S., promote terrorism or undermine the American Constitution.

Let’s get it right. Should candidates address issues of national security and concerns about Muslim terrorists in America? Of course they should. What candidates have succumbed to is the exploitation of legitimate fear about domestic terrorism with the brush stroking (or perhaps better the tar and feathering) of a faith and the majority of its mainstream believers. Most states that have moved to pass anti-Shariah legislation have not acted because of a major Muslim attempt to replace American law with Islamic law. Indeed, as a mystified Muslim in North Dakota said when a legislator announced he would push for anti-sharia legislation: “There are only 2,000 of us in the entire state.” In fact, there are far more right wing politicians, political commentators and Islamophobes talking about Shariah than the vast majority of American Muslims who, like Jews and Christians and followers of other faiths, accept and follow the Constitution and American laws.

It’s time to call a spade a spade, a bigot a bigot and stop those who would resurrect the intolerance of the past and add Muslims to a long list of groups that has included Jews, African Americans, World War II Japanese Americans and others who have been victims of religious discrimination and racism.