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An aggregator for (oAnth's) daily interests in humanities, arts, science, geography, economics, politics - academia, education - activism, advocacy - itec, free software, open source, open access, open knowledge - languages in use: mostly EN, FR, DE
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There's Nothing Wrong With Islamic Finance As Long As It Really Is Islamic Finance

There's Nothing Wrong With Islamic Finance As Long As It Really Is Islamic Finance | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

This is a fascinating little interview with Timur Kuran, an expert in Islamic finance. The point being made is that Islamic styles of finance aren’t, in fact, all that different from the “western” type that we are used to. And in fact, in certain situations, being “more Islamic” would actually be beneficial, work better than those traditional western systems.

The heart of the comments about the banking system are here:
Whether the Qur’an bans all forms of interest, or specifically its exploitative forms, was a matter of controversy in the early decades of Islam. It still remains in doubt. What is crystal clear is that what passes as Islamic finance is anything but interest-free. Almost all of the Islamic banks in existence, including those in Egypt, charge their borrowers what any economist would call interest; they also pay their depositors interest as a matter of course. This is not surprising, for interest continues to provide tangible benefits to both lenders and depositors.

In economic terms, while the banks don’t charge or pay what they call interest, the effects are that they do indeed charge and pay interest. Those of us who have dealt with such banks, in however minor a way in my own case, know this to be true. The really interesting, to me at least, point made is the following:

"Having suggested that in its present form Islamic banking would not solve any of Egypt’s pressing economic problems, let me acknowledge that Islamic banks might bring benefits by abiding by their stated mode of operation. The charters of Islamic banks instruct them to lend on the basis of “profit and loss sharing” rather than for a fixed return. They are to operate like the venture capital companies that have financed the global high-tech industry. Venture capital firms lend to promising entrepreneurs, for a share of any profits, without regard to collateral, track record, or connections. They take genuine risks, losing money when investments that they finance fail".

With its young population and high unemployment, Egypt desperately needs more venture capital. That is why genuine Islamic finance could bring major benefits to Egypt.

 

That is, it would be a good idea if these banks, or some of them, stopped copying the western model and actually moved over to the VC model they’re supposed to be based upon. (...)

 

More on: http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/03/16/theres-nothing-wrong-with-islamic-finance-as-long-as-it-really-is-islamic-finance/


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Qatar's influence in Egypt runs deeper than its pockets

Qatar's influence in Egypt runs deeper than its pockets | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it
Qatar's generosity towards Egypt is widely seen by non-Islamist Egyptians as the Gulf state seeking to establish a foothold in countries that have been swept by Arab Spring revolts.

(...)

Qatar was an anathema to former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who had made no secret of his contempt for the super-rich state and what he saw as its propaganda tool, Al Jazeera television.

But all that changed with the fall of the Mubarak regime in 2011 and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood as Egypt's most powerful political group.

Qatar has since poured billions of dollars into Egypt, mostly as bonds to bolster the country's fast-dwindling coffers. Top Qatari officials, from the emir down to the head of his intelligence agency and the powerful prime minister, have been frequent visitors to Cairo in recent months.

On the Egyptian side, the Brotherhood, rather than the foreign ministry, controls the country's dealings with Qatar. Khairat El Shater, a wealthy businessman and arguably the Brotherhood's most powerful figure who was disqualified from running in the country's 2012 election for president, has been the regime's point man on relations with Qatar, frequently flying there on unannounced visits.

Top Qatari officials say they are helping Egypt because they do not want to see the country's economy continue to sink. (The National)

 

More : http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/qatars-influence-in-egypt-runs-deeper-than-its-pockets


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Alexandria court bans unofficial fatwas

Alexandria court bans unofficial fatwas | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

The Alexandria Administrative Court banned Wednesday the issuance of religious edicts or fatwas from organizations with the exception Al-Azhar and Dar al-Iftaa.

The court also prohibited the use of mosques as partisan tools to promote political objectives.

“The mosque is the heart of the Muslim community,” said the court, presided over by Judge Mohamed Abdel Wahab Khafagi. “Therefore, imams shall not use mosques in achieving the political or partisan goals, since mixing of religion and politics is not acceptable.”

The Muslim Brotherhood and other religious groups have been harshly criticized over the past two years by secular opponents, who claim Islamists use mosques to further their political interests.

A recent fatwa was issued by Al-Azhar scholar Mahmoud Shabaan calling for the murder of National Salvation Front members during a program on the satellite chanel Al-Hafez.

The fatwa was officially condemned by the president's office, opposition parties and some Islamist groups.

Edited translation from MENA (Egypt independent)


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Egypt’s Mubarak feared Iran’s regional ambitions: former official

Egypt’s Mubarak feared Iran’s regional ambitions: former official | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

Egypt’s former President, Hosni Mubarak, feared the spread of Shiite influence in his country and the region even though he did want strong ties with Iran, according to the former Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit.

Aboul-Gheit told Al Arabiya that Egypt was watching Iran’s influence in the country closely along with Shiite Islamic institutions being founded in African countries bordering Egypt such as Chad and Sudan.

“We are watching, through our embassies in African countries, how Iran keeps expanding and branching out through their Shiite institutions as well as supporting them with a lot of money,” the former foreign minister said. In his interview, Aboul-Gheit says that such institutions and financial support is dangerous to the security of the region due to possible demonstrations and protests that Iran could instigate.

During the Islamic summit in Jeddah in 2005, "Mubarak didn't like confrontations, when I told him that Ahmadinejad wanted to meet him, he didn't welcome the idea," the former minister said.

"Mubarak came in the middle of the summit session and left immediately just to avoid any meeting with the Iranian president," he added.

 

More on: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2013/02/20/267326.html


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Iran Supreme Guide Calls on Mursi to Follow Khomeinist Political Model

Iran Supreme Guide Calls on Mursi to Follow Khomeinist Political Model | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

Iran’s “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei has called on Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi to adopt the “Iranian model” and join Tehran in “building the new Islamic civilization” based on the teachings of the late Ayatollah Khomeini.

The invitation to Mursi comes in the form of a 1,200-words letter signed on Khamenei’s behalf by his 17 closest advisors including “ The Leader’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs” Ali-Akbar Velayati.

The letter opens with greetings to Mursi on the occasion of the second anniversary of the “Egyptian Revolution” and Mursi’s own election as president.

According to the letter, under velayat-e faqih(Guardianship of the Jurists), Iran has become “one of the most advanced countries” in the world in a range of scientific, technological, and economic fields. (...)

 

“The best path in life,” the letter asserts,” is one that is inspired by velayat.”

According to the letter, Khomeini was a great philosopher and theologian of rare stature in the history of Islam. Thus, it is incumbent on Muslims everywhere to follow his teachings especially with regard to “relentless fight against Zionism and Global Arrogance.”

 

The letter claims that even the West is now trying to return to the path of faith. “This return to faith is caused by the impasse created by growth without religion,” the letter asserts.

 

According to the letter, “New Egypt” should be built in strict accordance with the teachings of Islam as reflected in the Iranian model of development.

 

The letter also suggests that all international conflicts be resolved on the basis of religious, especially Islamic, teachings.

 

More on: http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=1&id=32919

 


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oAnth - "offene Ablage: nothing to hide"'s comment, February 18, 2013 6:08 AM
Mursi is politically and economically depending on loans by Qatar and the IMF - he hardly can sympathise openly with the ideas of the Khomeinism and any kinds of ideas of an Islamic revolution, also not for Egypts inner peace between the different groups in its own society. The bilateral and multilateral relations of Egypt's regional and international Middle East politics allow very few options for a closer coordination of Iranian and Egyptian specific islamic governance.
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Egypte: La Dawa salafiste valorise la position de l'imam d'Al-Azhar avec Ahmedinejad

Le porte-parole officiel de la Dawa salafiste, Abdel Moneim Chahhate a valorisé la position de l'instance d'Al-Azhar envers le président iranien, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, en visite actuelle en Egypte.

L'imam d'Al-Azhar a demandé au président iranien de désavouer l'insulte des compagnons du Prophète (ALBS), notamment l'épouse du Prophète, Aicha et d'arrêter toute tentative de favoriser l'expansionnisme chiite en Egypte, a-t-il déclaré mardi.

 

Plus: http://fr.allafrica.com/stories/201302061204.html?aa_source=sptlgt-grid


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Des milices islamistes apparaissent en Égypte

Des milices islamistes apparaissent en Égypte | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

Pour combler le vide sécuritaire, des groupes formés par la Jamaa Islamiya entendent faire régner l'ordre.

Combien sont-ils? Nul ne le sait, mais leur percée est source d'inquiétude enÉgypte . Voilà plusieurs jours que la presse locale évoque l'existence de ces nouveaux miliciens islamistes qui menacent de faire la loi pour répondre au vide sécuritaire provoqué par la récente grève des policiers. Sur une vidéo qui circule sur YouTube, on les voit parader à moto dans les rues d'Assiout, en Haute-Égypte.

L'organisation à l'origine de ces comités populaires religieux n'est autre que la Jamaa Islamiya, un ex-groupe djihadiste converti à la politique depuis la chute deMoubarak  et l'élection d'un islamiste à la présidence. Contacté par Le Figaro, Assem Abdel Maged, membre du bureau politique de la Jamaa Islamiya, déclare sans détours: «Que les fonctionnaires de police qui entendent poursuivre leur grève sachent qu'ils ne retrouveront pas leur poste une fois que nous aurons pris la relève. Une chose est sûre: nous ne laisserons pas la situation sécuritaire se détériorer.» Il fait là référence à cette nouvelle vague de violence suscitée la semaine dernière par le verdict du procès lié à une bousculade meurtrière, l'année dernière, dans le stade de Port-Saïd . Déjà impopulaire sous Moubarak, et aujourd'hui accusés par les opposants de servir de bras armé au président Morsi , les policiers ont fini par déclarer forfait dans la cité portuaire au motif qu'ils étaient injustement instrumentalisés par le pouvoir. Depuis, leur grève s'est étendue à d'autres villes du pays, dont Asiout. «Là-bas, précise Assem Abdel Maged, nous avons commencé à organiser des comités permettant de combler le vide et de maintenir l'ordre.» Quand on l'interroge sur le nombre, la formation et l'armement de ces nouveaux miliciens, il se contente de répondre: «Avec l'aide de Dieu, nous protégerons le peuple.» À Assiout, des témoins racontent avoir déjà vu ces miliciens à l'action à certains carrefours, où ils remplacent les agents de circulation. Également repérés dans d'autres villes, dont Suez et Minya, on ignore à ce jour s'ils ont mené des perquisitions. «Pour résoudre la crise sécuritaire, il faut des actes et pas seulement des mots», prévient cependant Assem Abdel Maged, en s'appuyant sur un obscur article du code pénal, récemment mis en exergue par le procureur général du Caire, et qui permettrait l'arrestation de «voyous» par des civils.

 

(Le Figaro)

 

Plus : http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2013/03/15/01003-20130315ARTFIG00587-des-milices-islamistes-apparaissent-enegypte.php


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"History and Identity in the Late Antique Near East", edited by Philip Wood

"History and Identity in the Late Antique Near East", edited by Philip Wood | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

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Egypt-actus's curator insight, February 23, 2013 11:23 PM

History and Identity in the Late Antique Near East gathers together the work of distinguished historians and early career scholars with a broad range of expertise to investigate the significance of newly emerged, or recently resurrected, ethnic identities on the borders of the eastern Mediterranean world. It focuses on the "long late antiquity" from the eve of the Arab conquest of the Roman East to the formation of the Abbasid caliphate. The first half of the book offers papers on the Christian Orient on the cusp of the Islamic invasions. These papers discuss how Christians negotiated the end of Roman power, whether in the selective use of the patristic past to create confessional divisions or the emphasis of the shared philosophical legacy of the Greco-Roman world. The second half of the book considers Muslim attempts to negotiate the pasts of the conquered lands of the Near East, where the Christian histories of Hira or Egypt were used to create distinctive regional identities for Arab settlers. Like the first half, this section investigates the redeployment of a shared history, this time the historical imagination of the Qu'ran and the era of the first caliphs. All the papers in the volume bring together studies of the invention of the past across traditional divides between disciplines, placing the re-assessment of the past as a central feature of the long late antiquity. As a whole, History and Identity in the Late Antique Near East represents a distinctive contribution to recent writing on late antiquity, due to its cultural breadth, its interdisciplinary focus, and its novel definition of late antiquity itself.

Oxford University Press, USA, April 1, 2013, 272 pages


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Salafistes vs Frères musulmans, par Hicham Mourad

L’exacerbation de la tension entre les différents protagonistes de la scène politique en Egypte a commencé à produire des phénomènes jusque-là inobservés. Le premier desquels est le remodelage de l’échiquier politique entre majorité et opposition. Jusqu’à récemment, la majorité était composée de partis islamistes (Frères musulmans et salafistes, toutes tendances confondues) alors que l’opposition était presque exclusivement libérale. La situation semble cependant évoluer vers plus de complication de la scène politique, avec l’entrecroisement de plusieurs lignes de division politique.

Le premier, et plus important symptôme, de cette évolution de la scène politique concerne le repositionnement du parti d’Al-Nour, la principale formation salafiste d’Egypte (25 % des sièges de la Chambre basse du Parlement, dissoute mi-juin). Al-Nour s’est joint à l’opposition libérale pour réclamer des concessions politiques au pouvoir, tenu par les Frères musulmans. (...)

La manoeuvre d’Al-Nour de faire alliance, même de circonstance, avec les libéraux, tend à acculer le pouvoir à faire des concessions. La formation d’un gouvernement d’union nationale est dans ce sens destinée à empêcher le PLJ de profiter d’une éventuelle impartialité des autorités en sa faveur lors des prochaines législatives, attendues en avril ou mai prochains. Le stratagème est toutefois risqué. Certains partis et personnalités islamistes ont critiqué l’attitude d’Al-Nour de faire cause commune avec les « laïcs » du FNS pour des objectifs qualifiés d’opportunistes. Ce qui risque de se retourner contre le parti. Le pari d’Al-Nour est de profiter du discrédit dont souffrent les Frères musulmans auprès de l’électorat pour gagner plus de sièges lors de la prochaine échéance électorale. Mais c’est sans prendre en considération la recomposition de la scène salafiste en Egypte, qui risque de compromettre ce dessein. Lors des dernières législatives, Al-Nours’accaparait le soutien des principaux cheikhs salafistes. Aujourd’hui, il doit faire face à l’apparition de nouvelles formations salafistes et à l’éventuelle division entre les prédicateurs soutenant telle ou telle formation. Outre la formation dissidente d’Al-Watan, le prêcheur salafiste controversé, mais très populaire, Hazem Salah Abou-Ismaïl, ancien candidat disqualifié à la présidentielle, devrait créer son propre parti à l’approche des législatives. Il a d’ores et déjà annoncé son alliance électorale avec Al-Watan. Cette multiplication des partis salafistes risque de désorienter et de rendre confus leurs électeurs potentiels au profit, peut-être, des Frères musulmans, qui restent, eux, unis. (Al-Ahram Hebdo)

 

Plus : http://hebdo.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/962/4/132/1733/Salafistes-vs-Fr%C3%A8res-musulmans.aspx


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Stronger Egypt-Iran rapproachement could be a message to third parties

Stronger Egypt-Iran rapproachement could be a message to third parties | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s historic visit to Cairo for a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), as well as President Mohamed Morsy’s red carpet reception, has led to mounting speculation across the region that a possible rapprochement is in the making after a decades-long deadlock.

Morsy’s warm reception reflected a shift in attitude from his visit to Iran during the summit of the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran in August, observers say. Then, the newly elected Muslim Brotherhood president slammed the Syrian regime — Iran’s biggest Arab ally — calling it “oppressive,” and gave a special salute to the companions of the Prophet Mohamed, which was considered an insult to Iran’s Shia tradition.

But the political situation in Egypt is also shifting, with dwindling support for the first elected president, not only from traditional secular opposition groups but also from his major political allies, the ultraconservative Salafi movement.

Ahmadinejad’s visit, the first by an Iranian president since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, was panned by Salafi leaders and supporters, whose reception of Ahmadinejad was not quite so cordial.

With both leaders facing mounting pressure at home and abroad, detractors of Morsy and his Iranian counterpart have been questioning the motivations behind the historic visit. Many agree the visit sends a strong message, at least to international powers. (Egypt independent)

 

More : http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/stronger-egypt-iran-rapproachement-could-be-message-third-parties


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Arab revolutions and the Salafist challenge

Arab revolutions and the Salafist challenge | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

Allam’s election as Grand Mufti illustrates that Al Azhar leaders do not wish to be pawns in the hands of extremist political groups and that bodes well for Egypt.

 

Two years into epochal revolutions that changed the Arab World, commentators identified alleged power vacuums that, apparently, were filled by extremist movements. The fear that Salafists would replace repressive dictatorships gained popularity as tensions in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and especially Syria, preoccupied analysts. Some were wondering, for example, whether Syria would become an Islamist state. Others anticipated profound transformations in North Africa.

Were Salafist challenges true existential developments that were about to negate the progress associated with the dramatic changes that befell the Arab World?(...)

 

Similar questions were raised elsewhere in classic power struggles. In Egypt, for example, a hardline cleric — Mahmoud Sha’aban — felt no compunction to call for the deaths of two key opposition figures, Mohammad Al Baradei and Hamdin Sabahy, during his “pseudo-religious” television invocations (...)

 

There was no denying that some of these extremists were loud. Yet, and no matter how much they shouted, the Arab Spring was not just sprouting Islamists, given that moderate voices were equally strong and vocal.

Indeed, the most recent election of the Egyptian Grand Mufti, Shaikh Shawky Abdul Karim Allam, attested to the phenomenon. A professor of jurisprudence from a provincial university in Tanta in northern Egypt, Allam secured the highest number of votes, as senior Al Azhar clerics chose him. He defeated Shaikh Abdul Rahman Al Bar, a prominent cleric in the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, who was tipped as a shoe-in because of his political affiliation. Importantly, Al Bar’s past service within the Brotherhood guidance bureau proved to be insufficient to secure the post.

 

By choosing a moderate voice, Al Azhar clerics rejected any Brotherhood efforts to further politicise the revered institution, distancing it from initiatives that intended to obtain its imprimatur on the contentious constitutional debate that rocked and continued to destabilise the political establishment. In other words, Allam’s election illustrated that Al Azhar leaders did not wish to become pawns in the hands of extremist political groups, which bode well for Egypt.

 

Beyond Allam, a largely apolitical figure, the country’s wise religious figures understood that one must not replace one dictatorship with another. Moreover, they telegraphed that Islamists emerging throughout the region ought to be “managed,” lest the most recent tiger of change usher in calamities galore.

 

Because Arab dictators tortured thousands of Islamists over the years, as the Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali, Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar Al Assad regimes, among others, exercised crackdowns involving mass murder and repression, the current Salafist growths were part vengeance and part vindication.

 

Nevertheless, past grievances cannot possibly justify the on-going bloodshed and, it is critical to clarify, few can monopolise righteousness.  (...)

 

More on: http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/arab-revolutions-and-the-salafist-challenge-1.1145933


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