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Usury: The Forgotten Terrorism

Taken from a forthcoming magazine

‘If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.’ Hitler’s Henchman Joseph Goebbels

‘See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.’ G. W. Bush

Chilling as the above may sound, many will argue that these statements can be applied to the rhetoric on the war on terror; the so called imminent danger, the potential loss of many innocent lives.

But how real is this threat? How many of us Brits actually wake up in fear? How many of us are directly suffering from the consequences of terrorism? Not many. Unless of course you pay attention to the propaganda machine that spews a climate of fear, who fraudulently attempts to traumatise the masses by depicting images of hundreds of thousands of innocents dying while knowing very well that it is a war of want and not terror. So behind the veil of lies and deceit it seems that we have seemingly forgotten who the biggest killer is. Who is the real terrorist with a history of murdered millions, a history based on the destruction of nations? The answer is neither a race, religious group nor political party, but a force that has mass support across the political spectrum. This terrorist is the weapon of debt, the most efficient killer in the third world.

Relieved of their annual debt repayments, the severely indebted countries could use the funds for investments that in Africa alone would save the lives of about 21 million children by 2000 and provide 90 million girls and women with access to basic education.’
UNDP Human Development Report 1997, p. 93

Merely by the fact that we are in 2007, we must accept that the 21 million people referred to by the UNDP died 7 years ago. Ten years after the UNDP report, it is still evident that politics hasn’t changed and severe debt repayment remains, the sum of which is approaching astronomical realities. If the drive behind the war in Iraq and Afghanistan was a ‘revelation from god’ (based upon Bush’s statement, ‘God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East ‘), one can only ask as to what his god has to say about the biggest and bloodiest form of terrorism whereby the millions of calls for help fall upon deaf ears. This forgotten terrorism also has its own form of propaganda, for fifty years the poorest nations have been duped into believing that the only cure for poverty is the loaning of money which may consequently be invested back into their own economies. However, due to usury the debt has kept on growing.

1980
1990
2000
Developing country debt ($bn)
525.4
1259.8
2140.6
Actual payments of interest plus principal ($bn)
73.4
140.6
337.8
IMF World Economic Outlook 2001


To add to the propaganda, economists have continued to inform the world (the eager poor to be precise) that there will be enough growth in wealth for everybody, and they are right, everyone can be fed and provided with shelter and clothing. However, the reality is so very different,

’225 people own more wealth than the poorest 2.5 billion people.’
UNDP Human Development Report 1998

So who is the driving force of this terror, this method of mass indiscriminate killing?

‘There is a very broad consensus among African governments that the IMF and World Bank terms are often harsh and unsuitable, generating severely adverse effects on the overall economies of these countries especially with regard to agriculture, manufacture and foreign trade’

Conference of the Institute for African Alternatives, Onimode, B. [ed.], The IMF, the World Bank and African Debt, Zed Books, 1989.

The IMF and the World Bank, as well as the economic system they represent aim the weapon of debt at vulnerable and unstable economies. The philosophy of self-interest, profit maximisation, greed and the insensitive selfish approach of governing the financial affairs of humanity is the driving force of this sad state of affairs. So what can we do? What is the solution?

Well first off, charity pop concerts are not the solution. The good willed people of Britain attending charity concerts to end poverty have been used as pawns. The millions raised are barely enough to pay off the usury Africa has accrued for a few hours.

Some $700 million per day now flows in debt repayment from the developing world to the developed world (UNDP Human Development Report, 1997)

Evidently, even if we had a concert a day, it would not be enough. We would need at least 700 concerts a day. If you attempt to transform a system from within, the system changes you. Therefore, a new model, a new paradigm, a fresh perspective on this issue is needed. If we all want to stop this forgotten form of terrorism that is responsible for the equivalent of 21,000 9/11’s and over a million 7/7’s, then we must provide a sincere and valid solution.

‘…and give up what remains of your demand for usury… Deal not unjustly and you shall not be dealt with unjustly’ al-Baqarah 2: 278-279

‘…Freeing a slave or feeding on a day of hunger an orphaned relative or a poor man in the dust; then to be one of those who have iman (faith) and urge each other to steadfastness and urge each other to compassion…’ al-Balad 90:13-17

‘…that is because they say, ‘Trade is the same as usury.’ But God has permitted trade and He has forbidden usury.’ al-Baqarah 2:275

‘Give your relatives their due, and the very poor ….’ al-Isra’ 17: 26

Many may argue that the abolishment of usury in order to relieve world debt is merely logical and we do not need a ‘God’ to tell us what to do. Be it an individuals belief, I would rather accept this much needed advice rather then listen to Bush’s hidden psychosis (which he calls god), the result of which has killed millions. But who is listening? If it is true that the rhetoric on the war on terror is starting to fall on deaf ears, I can only suggest that we now alter our current bearing and pay attention to the pain and suffering of millions of our fellow human beings. This ruthless form of terrorism has taken more lives and inflicted more pain than anything we have experienced before. Is it not time that we set the political agenda straight and put the real terrorism on top of the list?

 

 

Notes:

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About Hamza Andreas Tzortzis

Hamza Andreas Tzortzis is an international public speaker on Islam, a writer, lecturer, instructor and researcher. He is particularly interested in Islam, politics, western and Islamic thought and philosophy. Hamza delivers workshops, seminars and courses on the foundations of Islamic thought. He is an instructor for iERA and AlKauthar Institute. Hamza has also delivered a short course on the intellectual foundations of Islam for the Islamic Online University for their Diploma course. Hamza is one of the main initiators of the contemporary emergence of Muslim public debaters and speakers using western and Islamic philosophy to defend and explain Islam. Hamza heads the research team and Lectures for iERA.

11 comments

  1. thanks for article
    In order to attract more visitors to my blog, I save all articles for a months in pdf format, create a journal and share in the Interent. I must say, it works! If you open a [url=http://www.pdfspirit.com/tabelas-de-reten]pdf search engine,[/url] you will see that many other bloggers also successfully use this tactics

  2. rony, they make good that which is bad and make bad that which is good…not that I am saying that terrorism is good by any stretch of the imagination. But it did really get up my nose when they did that Haiti concert, if you really want to help those people, cancel their debt!! It is’nt rocket science.

  3. anonymous coward

    i say this all as a open question (… dont take my words to be certain …?).
    Bro – Fantastic Article.

    Money as we know it, is DEBT anyway. It is wortheless. [but in the state of affairs that its value is what most people and governments are now, via thinks like this "see: confessions of an economic hitman", overt and covert political-war machinations and bankers manipulations, dependent for food and shelter and medicin, it, money, debt, riba (which are all the same thing at the moment) is the number 1 killer and, via its cause and effects, possibly the no.1 danger and confusion to us all ...?].

    There is more owened then allowed in circulation by the banks, so without a change brought on the system, it is pretty obvious what follows next … people need to invent things, lie and steal from their brothers (humans, whether muslim or not), people need to invent new ways of demand generation, the unsustainable development of ever faster and faster activities has to keep getting faster and faster (exponential growth), for the repayments to be made and more money to be injected (conjured up from thin air; usary) … and so on and so on … someone has to loose everytime a nickle is paid pack, or a pound is made, by definition of there being more owed then in circulation (ofcourse, this state of affairs is controlled by the banks, by slight of hand, illusiory games, ‘magic’ if u will, usuary – riba, but whose solution is so simple and compassionate and common sense and sustainable, as u outlined above).

    this is why the system is already sick, and money as it is in this worl is a dirty thing inherently, nevermind the love of it. better we cultivated the land like in the old days and reverted to simple, grounded, content economies … where the inner spirit is invested as opposed to to much the outer things.

    even when things are made etc, they are used and seen in their proper way, without cunning, greed, covetousnes (everyone knows the will of God, and everyone knows only He exists, and the dizzying demand-generating, distracting, hyponotising, covering marketing, sales and servethood of illusions of status, self-image and yes, ‘ego’, thats takes place instead in this insane ‘sane’ society.

    I’ll end it with a confession from “one of them”:

    “Banking was conceived in iniquity and born in sin. Bankers own the earth; take it away from them but leave them with the power to create credit, and, with a flick of the pen, they will create enough money to buy it all back again. Take this power away from them and all great fortunes like mine will disappear, and they ought to disappear, for then this world would be a happier and better world to live in. But if you want to be slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let the bankers control money and control credit.”
    - Lord Stamp, Director of the Bank of England, 1940

    and all that follows …. is the sick paradigm of corporate western economics, media, hollywood, and psychological tricks played to the masses via advertising and education (conditioning) and so forth … blah blah …

    you guys know what im trying to point to …

    non-engagement with it is best, and helping where you can with (in and in circumstances of) what is written for you and stamped on your/our heart-consciousness (which in the context of Allah’s guidance, you should listen to) follows naturally …

    Certainty

    ps. i dont want to be causing a fuss, or making anyone angry. I just wanted to express myself and add my two pence. Please be welcome to say anything you want, including to scold me if you see it right to, or otherwise.

    i need help. can you help me? any ideas?

  4. greed
    the article hits the nail on the head! i dont think we have time any more to argue and discuss terminologies of words etc….as this play of words is exactly what the Bush adminsitration want all humans to be preoccupied with. We can all see what is going on and the truth is there for those that wish to acknowledge it and for others to deny, sugar coat or protest against. I think poverty and debt are the real killers, but we sitting at ‘Home’ in Uk are so far removed from Africa that most UK minds dont even bother to question the corporate policies of banks and politicians. Of course It seems the North hemisphere sits and feeds off of the South hemisphere. I dont think debt will disappear until all people in the west shut down the West banks by refusing to pay interest on loans and mortgages and the Banks change ti shariah law. then the world will be free from bondage…the solution/truth is simple but the path is long.

  5. mmm….
    The Quran, sunnah, ijma (consensus)and ijhtihad being a source of authority in shari’ah, I don’t think ‘Black eyed peas’has qualified to be in that category yet!;.)

    As for terminology, I totally agree. Muslims need to categorise themselves and not allow themselves to be consumed by government debates.

  6. Terminology-principle is there
    It is important for People to write such articles. It may not be deemd as ‘terrorism’ per say but we know what the writer is trying to say and does so very well mashAllah. I thought of a tune that was played by many who saw the hyprocrisy of the stat, played by the black eyed peas and they pointed out what the real terrorism was. It really is about terminology and that is a valid discussion but should not deter us from what the writer is underlining and quiet rightly so. So jazakAllahkhair!

  7. Oh noo…!!!
    Mashallah, Abul Layth’s point was over exagerated and completely off the topic. Personally, it seemed like he was complaining for the sake of it!! As ‘good article wrote’, we as Muslims must think globally (non-Muslims have manage to), and realise the effects of corporations such as the IMF and world bank. To argue that we have poverty at home is an overstatement, I have’nt seen any famine ravished homeless people lately, have you? Furthermore, most people in the UK who are in debt CHOOSE to be due to lack of self control and materialism – can you say this is the same for poverty stricken nations?

  8. Literary expression….
    Salaam,

    I disagree with Abu Layth. His comments are quite innapropriate. Firtsly, the author obviously uses the word terrorism as a literary device to capture the attention of the readers. The current climate on the so-called “war on terror” has been used to facilitate a discussion on this forgotten attrocity – the weapon of debt.

    So its not naivity, its actually a clever way to get a point across. And even if you want to define terrorism, one definition (by the way there is no set definition – the EU tried to find a consensus on the issue but they disagreed) is ‘the killing of innocents for the achievement of a political goal’. If you adopt this definition you will realise that debt is exactly that! The world bank and IMF are run by who? By the ideological powers that run the world today. The debt fulfills a political objective of economic dominance and as a result you have millions and millions of preventable deaths.

    I am shocked at the direction Abu Layth has made towards ‘Home’ interest. There is probably not one account or any reported deaths as a result of interest at home and borrowing. Furthermore this attitue is un-Islamic as we see ourselves as part of a global community. If someone dies in Iraq or Sudan its the same if they die here. Abu Layth has really missed the point as 21,000,000 deaths occured abroad and not at ‘Home’. Anyway for me, as a Muslim, ‘Home’ is a relative term. His statistics are a joke as compared to the article they are dwarfed. Cant this brother realise that it is abroad that millions have died!!!! Who has died from and interest mortgage lately?

    Finally, how many people have died from terrorism, here and abroad? Probably less than 10,000? But this debt crisis has killed over 25,000,000. Thats not belittling terrorism its calling a spade a spade!

    I will agree on the fact that we must do what we can at home and control whats within our scope and I obvioulsy agree that all help is sought from Allah alon and from Him is the victory. But I serioulsy think that Abu Layth has missed the point of the article (which was to create awareness and unveil the truth), and he has gone done the route of an academic who has removed any emotional subtance from his work. Look at the implications of what you said.

    The war on terror in my opinion is a war on Islam. The biggest killer is ideologically driven policies. And one manifestation of that is debt which has killed millions.

    How on earth can you compare that to debt at home?

    Wasalaam.

  9. Hardly ‘terrorism’!
    Whilst the figures relating to debt are quite literally terrifying, the author seems guilty of naive confusion about the meaning or terrorism. It is quite clear that debt is weapon of unbridled force and penetration however, it is not one that declares itself with wanton abandon. Instead it is an insidious and silent killer, binding itself around both individuals, businesses and even states, and crushes its victims slowly. The method of death is intentionally slow as a side effect is the destruction of the will. It is certainly not in the best interests fo those who weild this weapon of mass destruction to promote or openly flaunt it and so cannot conceivably be regarded as a form of terrorism. The point of terrorism is the mass and open appeal to terror. Allah and His Messenger (SAW) declared war on those who deal in and those who receive riba/ usury. The warning is stark precisely because the problem itself is less than clear, by which I am again referring to the insidious and creeping nature of debt whether here in the UK or in poorer countries. The author further misses the point by concentrating on far away places and falls into the very trap of those who develop and run the institutions who utilise usury for their own profit and collection of power. Let me quote some recent figures on the ‘home front’, the one that is being fought and won daily by the corporate institutions controlling finance:

    Total UK personal debt at the end of March 2007 stood at £1,318bn.

    Average household debt in the UK is £8,833 (excluding mortgages) and £54,452 including mortgages.

    Average owed by every UK adult is £28,024 (including mortgages). This grew by £168 last month.

    Average outstanding mortgage for the 11.6m households who currently have mortgages is £95,170

    Average interest paid by each household on their total debt is approximately £3,525 each year.

    Average consumer borrowing via credit cards, motor and retail finance deals, overdrafts and unsecured personal loans has risen to £4,550 per average UK adult at the end of March 2007.

    Britain’s personal debt is increasing by £1 million every 4 minutes.

    Today in the UK:

    * Consumers will borrow an additional £318m today
    * The average household debt will increase by over £13 today
    * 300 people today will be declared insolvent or bankrupt
    * Bank and building societies will hand out £1bn in mortgages today
    * Citizen Advice Bureaus will deal with 5,300 debt problems today
    * The average car will cost £15 to run today
    * The average home will cost £30 today to run
    * Raising a child to the age of 21 will now set you back £23.50 daily
    * The price of a typical house will increase by £46 today
    * 24.3m transactions worth £1.3bn will be spent on plastic cards today
    * £82m will be spent online today
    * 1/3rd of all groceries we buy today will end up in the dustbin.

    I will not quote the ridiculous profits culled from consumers over the last year by the banks, I am sure we have all heard something frightening on that front. So we must fight usury as it underlies debt, but usury is not debt itself and so we need to be careful about conflating the to as the author does because this obscures the almost insurmountable task at hand. Besides, debt may be undesirable but it is not essentially haram whereas usury is, whether in a small or large amount. Debt is still taboo and remains hidden an will take great efforts to bring it into the public domain in a manner that is not degrading or demeaning, for there will always be those who tells us it is our own fault. Well maybe, but there is no viable moral justification for usury, it is evil from head to toe.

    I suggest we take a long and hard look at what is happening closer to home for we are in no fighting fit condition to take our battles overseas all the while being castrated and made impotent on our own shores. I do not advocate forgetting those less fortunate places and peoples around the world, on the contrary, I suggest that the battle is here because the institutions are based here and that we are under attack on every front. Changing things here will have a knock-on effect, perhaps a ‘trickle up’ effect, and by challening and then controlling the manner in which these corporate psychopaths do business here, we can regulate what they might try and do there. But don’t confuse this with terrorism, and frankly do not belittle terrorism and its hugely damaging effects (I imagine victims who have survived terror attacks will be quite offended at the authors glib and flawed analogy) as understanding what is being confronted is essential to achieving victory – know your enemy; don’t be blinded by his strategies of obfuscation and misdirection remembering that war is deception; open your eyes and look across the horizon instead of down a dark and singular tunnel. Allah knows best.

    And all help is sought from Allah alone and from Him is the victory.

  10. Reliance on Allah…
    Salaam,

    I believe that we, as an ummah, will establish a strong and just (including economically) political entity; as long as we hold on to the rope of Allah and we sumbit fully to His will.

    Wasalaam.

  11. nice article, but will it realistically happen?

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