the Brussels attacks

The murderous attacks at Zaventem and Maelbeek in Brussels on 22 March like those in Paris in November (see the blogpost: ‘make money, not jihad’) evidence again the misuse of religion for political objectives and personal vendetta, at the unconscionable cost of innocent human lives. In each case most if not all of the perpetrators have died at their own hand or been arrested; the investigations and detentions are presently unfolding in Brussels. The importance of intelligence and conventional security measures is affirmed in order to prevent, deter and to punish these crimes.

What may be less obvious and more difficult to see especially at this moment is the need for additional measures to keep innocents safe and to preserve the integrity of essentially well-ordered, law-governed and free societies . With respect to the underlying motivations of Islamism there is no immediate panacea and longer term measures must be undertaken now in order that they may gradually produce fruit. If such measures are restricted to an enforce and punish paradigm they will be less effective than should multiple paradigms be adopted simultaneously. One additional paradigm is that of the generation of prosperity and self-improvement through the growth of existing and the creation of new businesses; companies, organisations and enterprises engaged in the real economy for profit and gain. This blog proposes that Islamic banking and finance is one element in a package of measures that (aside from being important and worthwhile in its own right) is an invaluable force to change. A force to transform and alter the present dominant narrative regarding Islam — especially here in Europe; and to counteract the apparent draw of perpetrating destruction, chaos and killing.

Creating, participating in and celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit and constructive commercial traditions in the Islamic past and present is part of the answer. Creating more stakes and stakeholders in both developing and advanced capitalist economies — with and without reference to religion — is part of the answer. This blog therefore submits that the turn should be towards and not away from Islamic legal traditions; those traditions that regulate and encourage wealth-producing exchanges and transactions. Modern efforts to re-construct the Islamic commercial legal tradition in the national and international world of banking and finance is part of the answer. Money is the essential lifeblood of business. Financial institutions acting in accord with Islam can and do facilitate the flow of blood to productive economic activity and commercial life. Not blood on the streets.


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