21st September, 2017
Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)
National Christian Centre
SUKKUK IS STEALTH JIHAD CONTRARY TO SECTIONS 1 AND 10 OF THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION
We wish to congratulate CAN for the incisive and impactful intervention (the Press Statement) on the Federal Government sponsored Sukkuk financial system in Nigeria. With this intervention, CAN has opened the way for more purposeful Christian response on this issue.
Section 1 of the 1999 Constitution provides as follows:
(1) This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on the authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
(2) The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any persons or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
(3) If any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void
The introduction of Sukkuk and other forms of Islamic financial systems in Nigeria are not primarily for the financial benefits of the country but to entrench the Islamization Agenda through financial inducement. Sukkuk should not be viewed from the perspective of Government seeking to expand or strengthen the Nigerian economy, rather, as another surreptitious method of making Sharia the source of legislation and transmuting Nigeria into a full blown Islamic State. By now, these facts should be clear to all and sundry.
While we appreciate the contributions and suggestions coming from various Christian groups and individuals, it is necessary to retain focus on what is actually at stake. We are dealing with a gross violation of Sections 1 and 10 of the 1999 Constitution. Section 10 prohibits Federal/State Government’s adoption of any religion. This is the focal point that all Christian efforts should be directed with the intention of retaining the Supremacy of the Constitution as the only source of legislation in Nigeria. If the Government is permitted to succeed with this violation of the Constitution, then the secularity of the Nigerian State may finally be abolished and a new source of legislation, which is Sharia, could come into operation in full force.
The NCEF appreciates the suggestion to visit notable Government financial institutions like the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Debt Management Office for discussions with Government officials on this issue. To our mind however, this would look like reporting an intransigent Employer to his Employees. All the officials at both CBN and DMO are Government employees and they must toe the line of their employer which, in this case, is responsible for the violation of the Constitution and subsequent introduction of Sharia.
The NCEF therefore supports the call by CAN in its Press Statement to engage in litigation on this issue. We have come to the point at which the Courts, up to the Supreme Court, has to interpret Sections 1 and 10 of the 1999 Constitution. We must not forget that Sarkin Muslimi has said he recognizes only the Quran. A lot of inhuman and outright unconstitutional actions have taken place in Nigeria over the years, resulting in gross abuse of human rights of Christians in the country. The marginalization of Christians in the so-called “Sharia states”, the violation of the Principle of Federal Character in appointments, the lopsided dismissal of Christian personnel in the security agencies, and the recent introduction of Sukkuk Bond, to mention but a few, demand holistic approach.
Sharia-compliant finance (Sukkuk) is a category of investment or financial transactions that are conducted or structured in such a way considered by Islamic authorities to be “legal,” “authorized” or “pure” (halal) pursuant to Sharia. Whether a given transaction is deemed “compliant” depends on the approval of one or more Islamic scholars – men who are recognized by such authorities as possessing the requisite knowledge of sharia and who are engaged to serve on a sharia advisory board for the purpose of vetting each deal. (David Yerushalmi, Esq., “Sharia’s “Black Box”: Civil Liability and Criminal Exposure Surrounding Sharia Compliant Finance,” Utah Law Review, Vol. 2008, No. 3.)
Proponents of sharia-compliant finance (SCF) often convey the impression that SCF is an “ethical” financial system whose roots and practice are to be found in the Quran, hadiths and traditions of early Islam. In fact, it was invented out of whole cloth in the mid-20th Century by Muslim Brotherhood figures like Sayyid Qutb and Sayyid AbulA'la Al-Mawdudi. Its purpose was to provide yet another method to penetrate and undermine non-Sharia societies by stealthily insinuating sharia into their free markets. To this end, the Ikhwan seized upon what was, in fact, a biblical injunction against usury and transformed it into a prohibition on charging or earning any interest.
According to the SCF industry, other “impure” activities that must not be allowed to sully financial transactions involve pork, gambling, tobacco, music, drugs, pornography and non-Sharia countries defense. The sharia-compliant finance industry did not amount to much until the beginning of the present century, when – thanks to the increased price of oil – vast foreign reserves created leverage for the oil exporting nations, their ruling elites and sovereign wealth funds to demand increasingly SCF options in exchange for recycling their petrodollars. The sharia-compliant finance industry provides multiple benefits to the stealth jihadists. For starters, it has created a new instrument for forcing non-sharia-adherent Muslims to conform to their program.
Another benefit to the Ikhwan and its allies: SCF enables the “sharia advisors” to penetrate non-Sharia countries’ companies that retain their services, often essentially at board level. Once installed as the arbiters of what is halal (pure) and haram (impure), these champions of sharia are able to: gain insights into investments under consideration, shape deals, and discourage those of which they do not approve.
It stands to reason that from such influential positions, the advisors may be able to have a say not only over transactions involving Muslims, but others, as well. Needless to say, playing such a role would greatly magnify the opportunities sharia-compliant finance provides, in the words of Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, Yousuf al-Qaradawi, to wage “jihad with money”.
Qaradawi and other Muslim Brotherhood operatives calculated that by building automatically deducted zakat into their various deals, the advisors could obtain and channel vast sums to approved “charities” in accordance with sharia. In accordance with the Islamic obligation to perform zakat, promoters of sharia-complaint finance seek to facilitate and control such charitable donations.
Sharia approved philanthropy involves supporting jihad and its perpetrator and SCF amounts to a way to dress up for substantial zakat. The same can be said of funds derived from the “purification” of financial transactions initially deemed to be sharia-compliant but subsequently determined to be haram, instead. By sluicing the profits in this way from investments, financial instruments, etc., that were once deemed acceptable, the sharia advisors are able, at their discretion, to increase still further the sum available for their favorite “charities”.
Perhaps it is time to emphasize the fact that Christians erected the solid pillars upon which Nigeria attained its present height. Rather than be given their due for this fact for the progress so far garnered in Nigeria, no matter however this is viewed, Islamists and others proponents of Islam continue to device one subterfuge or another to compromise the gains, all for the sake of promoting the Islamist prime objective (Sultanate) geared towards compromising democracy and rule of law. Sukkuk is one of these devices intended to slow down the progress of Nigerians further by slowing down the progress of Christians. We urge that Christians especially the leadership must be circumspect in dealing with traps laid by Islamists to ensnare and compromise the cherished ideals of Christianity.
These are Constitutional issues that require legal interpretation by competent courts of law and the NCEF is willing to work with the Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON), and other well meaning Christians and Christian Groups to legally pursue this issue to a logical conclusion.
We shall keep CAN abreast as we proceed and progress in this initiative.
Solomon Asemota, SAN
National Christian Elders’ Forum (NCEF)
21st September, 2017