July 14, 2003


When Mohammed meets Marx:

An Islamic conference in the Spanish city of Granada has called on Muslims around the world to help bring about the end of the capitalist system.

The call came at a conference titled 'Islam in Europe' attended by about 2,000 Muslims.

The keynote speaker at the conference was Umar Ibrahim Vadillo, leader of the worldwide Muslim group known as Murabitun.

Mr Vadillo said America's economic interests had become the religion of the world and that people slavishly adjusted their lifestyles to suit the capitalist model.

But he said capitalism cannot sustain itself and is bound to collapse.

Iíll take that bet. Another speaker at Marxo-Muslimfest was German Abu Bakr Rieger:

He said Islam could only be practised in Europe in a traditional way, not in one adapted to European values and structures.

He also said private terrorism would find no approval among European Muslims.

State terrorism is presumably just fine, however.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 14, 2003 11:30 AM

What is ironic about this, is the Taliban were capitalists. They encouraged private property. Unless it was kites or televisions.

Posted by: Mike Hunt at July 14, 2003 at 12:31 PM

"State terrorism is presumably just fine, however."

Of course it is - particularly coming from those fine examples of Islamic enlightenment: Syria, Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia, etc.

I want some of what that guy's been smoking.

Posted by: Barbara Skolaut at July 14, 2003 at 02:05 PM

I don't remember where I heard it first, but if Allah was so great, how come the Mulims have such crappy countries? Nothing but sand, dirt and heat.

Posted by: tim at July 14, 2003 at 02:37 PM

Somebody in Abu Bakr's family must have experimented with European values and structures along the way, for him to be called Rieger. Is he like Michael Mansell, more white than black?

Posted by: Rob at July 14, 2003 at 02:55 PM

Wasn't Mohammed himself a business man?

Posted by: Cody at July 14, 2003 at 03:29 PM

It is worth repeating, Mohammed was the Karl Marx of his day. hence his rotten doctrine which is a fusion of some very crude influences.

Posted by: d at July 14, 2003 at 03:42 PM

Hey Tim, them Mullims are sure getting youse riled.

Posted by: Rob at July 14, 2003 at 03:47 PM

Nice point Cody, indeed he was.

Married into money, as a matter of fact, and ran camel caravans for his wife until her death.

And this:

"But he said capitalism cannot sustain itself and is bound to collapse"

Even pinko greeny types - like me - know that's bollocks. Anyone who doesn't think so, should ask themselves why 'Leningrad' is now called 'St Petersburg'.

Posted by: Brendan at July 14, 2003 at 03:48 PM

The only sector of capitalism that seems to work for most Arabs is Oil. Which.....if there were none in the Arab world, this would all be a moot point.

Posted by: Wallace at July 14, 2003 at 04:01 PM

It is worth remembering that the Prophet Muhammad as a businessman, who engaged in extensive commerce during the years before he devoted himself exclusively to religious affairs in the year 611. Even afterwards, Muhammad often made comments and look actions that demonstrated his support for business and the free market. For example, he forbade the imposition of price controls, saying that prices were in God's hands and that he wished to meet God (the same God to whom Christians and Jews pray) without having to answer for some injustice that he might commit in this respect.

Taxation is another area where Muhammad took what today would be considered a very conservative or pro-business approach. He forbade the imposition of special taxes on markets. He called the market "a charitable endowment." Rather, taxes were collected directly from individuals, instead of businesses.

The Koran, Islam's holy book, is filled with passages that can be interpreted as favoring commerce. For example, it says, "O you who believe! Squander not your wealth among yourselves in vanity, except it be a trade by mutual consent....And who does that through aggression and injustice, We shall cast him into Fire."

Posted by: Mike Hunt at July 14, 2003 at 04:56 PM

The problem with capitalism in Arab countries is it doesn't really exist. It's rather like G. K. Chesterton's assessment of Christianity: it's not that it has been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult, and left untried. This is why the whole non-oil production of the Middle East (except Israel) is less than that of Finland. If you truly want to immiserate your populace, blending Marxism with some mediaeval witchcraft like Islam is just about the best way to go.

Posted by: David Gillies at July 14, 2003 at 07:03 PM

`Muslim capitalism', another oxymoron.

Posted by: d at July 15, 2003 at 12:44 PM