Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Council To Name Islamic Banks That Fail To Follow Rules

from Bernama

The General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions will name the Islamic banks that fail to adhere to proper rules, its president Datuk Seri Sheikh Saleh A. Kamel said today. Worldwide, there are 350 Islamic banks in 75 countries, out of which 121 Islamic banks are members of the council, he said, adding that both members and non-members will come under the council's scrutiny. Saleh declined to elaborate on the tools, saying that the matter will be deliberated at the General Assembly of Islamic Banks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, soon. On another development, Saleh said he hoped that an international organisation for zakat will be established in Malaysia before year-end. As for the Makkah Declaration, he said that it will change the economic face of Islamic nations within the next 10 years. The Makkah Declaration, among others, aims to revitalise ethical values in trade transactions and alleviate poverty in the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) countries.

Drive to explain Prophet’s message

from AFP

The Global Programme for Introducing the Prophet of Mercy joined the condemnation of the publication in Sweden of a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad and said it would soon launch a campaign to spread knowledge of his message. The organisation, based in Riyadh, is affiliated to the Saudi-backed Muslim World League headquartered in the holy city of Makkah. The organisation would soon approach “more than 15,000 important media and academic groups worldwide, including in Sweden,” as part of a drive to explain the Prophet’s “real message.” The Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda published the cartoon on August 18 to illustrate an editorial on self-censorship and freedom of expression and religion. Iran and Pakistan both summoned Swedish diplomats to protest against the caricature, which was also condemned by the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

Pornography -- the lingua franca of the Middle East?

from Israel Insider

Citizens of enemy states have apparently finagled their way around the whole "diplomatic blockade" against Israel, using the one language that requires no words -- pornography. Executives at Israeli sex sites report that about 10% of their visitors are from Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, according to Ynet. The hit -- clips starring female soldiers and Mossad women. One website, Ratuv (wet), actually translated all its text into Arabic, and saw the number of Arab visitors skyrocket as a result ... Arab surfers often face technical difficulties in viewing the websites. "In many places Israel is blocked, at times the entire suffix ".co.il" is blocked. Users connect through proxy servers and reach us that way," Naftali explained.

Trial Looms in Al-Huraisi’s Custody Death

by Raid Qusti from Arab News

Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice members raided Al-Huraisi’s house late May on suspicion that he was selling and consuming alcohol. Bottles of alcohol were found in his bedroom. They also found narcotics in the house. Commission members, allegedly, beat the 28-year-old after arresting him ... The father of the deceased, Muhammad Al-Huraisi, is calling for the death penalty to the person responsible for his son’s death. The family had refused to bury him, saying they required a copy of the autopsy report beforehand. They later succumbed to pressure and were told the report would be produced in court. The report mentioned that the young man had suffered severe blows to his head. One powerful blow caused a deep fracture in the skull that caused part of the brain to come out; another removed one of his eyes.

Employees in Limbo Due to Unfair Practices

by Somayya Jabarti & Hassna’a Mokhtar from the Arab News

Over a period of almost two months prior to publication, Arab News sent faxes to 13 labor offices across the Kingdom asking for information regarding unpaid wages. Responses were only received from two of the 13 offices. In relation to labor violations in the Kingdom, the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) released a report — the first of its kind — in May this year stating they have received complaints from expatriates about local Saudi companies that have mistreated them and cheated them out of their financial rights. The report stated that regulations and laws issued by the Labor Ministry and other officials were not put into effect. The NSHR also reported that there was a long delay in settlement of cases taken to the labor office due to a shortage of employees in the commissions for settlement of labor disputes.

Bogeymen of Financial Capitalism

by Nouriel Roubini from the Project Syndicate News Service

According to Morgan Stanley, Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF’s) are expected to manage $12 trillion by 2015, up from about $2.5 trillion today. Both sums dwarf the sums controlled by hedge funds and private equity groups. Thus some of the biggest investors in financial markets in the coming years will be government institutions - the biggest of these institutions are in China, Russia and some unstable petro-states ... Views about how to respond to the SWF’s vary. Some worry about reciprocity: if Chinese firms are allowed to invest in U.S. and EU firms, shouldn’t U.S. and EU firms be allowed to invest freely in any Chinese firm? Others worry about national security: what would happen if “our” ports and security industries or other “strategic” firms were taken over by China, Russia, or Saudi Arabia?

Bush sees Iran as new threat to U.S.

by Evgeny Khrushchov from Russia Today

The U.S. dispatched GIs to kill or capture UBL (Usama Bin Laden) in Afghanistan but the bad guys did a vanishing act. It’s hard to believe, but they peacefully plot and perpetrate attacks in Pakistan against America, according to the latest National Intelligence Estimate. Unabashed, President Bush unveils a dramatic revision of strategic threat assessment to the United States ... With a promise of ‘strategic patience’ from Bush, Al-Qaeda has managed to convert operation Iraqi freedom from a war of distraction to a war of attrition. Come to think of it, the major benefactors of this oratorical exercise are Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan and their Wahhabi spiritual leaders in Saudi Arabia. Somehow they figure out that George Bush is not a flip-flopper. They can trust him as a man of his word, because he does what he says and he says what he believes.