In recent years, the idea of Shariah compliance has taken firm root in the business world and been applied in multiple spheres; everything from Shariah-compliant mortgages to Shariah-compliant hedge funds are growing increasingly popular. The Economist dubbed the phenomenon “sharianomics.”
Today, as Islamic financing grows exponentially because many more Muslims are mindful of the Shariah aspects of financial transactions, I would like to remind them that there is an often ignored social justice aspect to such financing as well. As Dr. Kavilash Chawla points out in his article “Islamic Venture Philanthropy” ;Business Islamica, June 20071, as the world tilts away from state power towards corporate power, the ability of public institutions and aid organizations to address poverty across the world grows weaker. Because of this tilt, the private financial sector is being called upon increasingly to do more to alleviate the suffering of the poor: I believe that Islamic financing is uniquely positioned to do just that, but only if it broadens its application of the Shariah.
By Dr. Sherman Jackson
(Published in Ascent Magazine Vol 2. Issue 1&2)
“Islam is a religion of peace.” This is certainly the mantra that has inundated us from almost every quarter since the horrifying events of September 11, 2001. From President George W. Bush to local, national and even international Muslim spokespersons, the peaceful nature of Islam has been reiterated time and again. Of course, this has not gone unchallenged. Skeptics, polemicists, even opportunists of various stripes, have repeatedly warned against accepting too uncritically what they hint at being a “new-found, politically correct” depiction of a religion that includes, inter alia, a scripturally mandated institution of armed violence and a holy book that exhorts its adherents, at least on the face of it, to “slay ‘them’ wherever you find them.” Today, close to a year after the tragedy, emotions and rhetoric on both sides have subsided a bit. But there is still a suspicion among many Americans-including many Muslim Americans-when it comes to the question of Islam, violence, and the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Covering Islam and Muslims in America by Dr. Sherman Jackson
Muslims in America are locked into a hidden battle over who will get to decide what Islam means in the modern world. Keynote speaker Sherman Jackson, a professor of Arabic and Islamic studies in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan and a specialist in Islamic law and theology, discussed the history behind this predicament, and what it means for media coverage of Islam in the United States. Jackson began by defining Muslims in America as an amalgamation of ethnicities, races, classes, and histories – all of which are only loosely bound by their common commitment to basic religious and theological postulates. There exists an ongoing exchange about what that means and how that will affect Muslims’ search for a dignified existence in America. Jackson said that Islam’s authority crisis is exacerbated in the United States because groups are competing for the authority to define and speak for Muslims in America.