Islam to replace Capitalism?

I viewed some of the Hizb ut Tahrir America teleconference and videos yesterday.  And I had a few reactions I wanted to share.

My first reaction was: poor, deluded, idealistic fools. Their argument: Capitalism does not equal America. Capitalism is a failing system which needs a backup. Islam is a proven system which can replace capitalism. Then America will be Islamic.

Uh…logic errors aside, can you go ahead an show me a list of current Islamic countries that are on top of their game? Show how that government will work within the context of the West. You have Indonesia, maybe, and…. Turkey? Maybe? A little weak.

My second reaction was to reconsider a broader argument for Islamic Finance, not to replace, but as an alternative, another choice to the chaotic system we have now which is so vulnerable to schemes and manipulation. How is it OK that Enron and Worldcom and Madoff have “made off” with all our money? Who was supposed to be watching that?

Ethics and oversight are major concerns. Here, I actually see a place for religion and banking. Even though we all know that no one grabs money like a greedy mullah, still, I can see a bank which is regulated by ethics and standards which stem from Islam and I would gladly put my money there, if given the choice and shown how it works to my advantage. A little research showed some promise.

Here is a passage from an article today entitled, Islamic Finance Offers Good Governance To Conventional Banking:

He said Islamic finance could also help the global finance industry to be more aware of following the rules and curtailing excess as well as create an infrastructure of honesty, fairness and integrity.

“But, I also believe Islamic finance can offer much more than this,” Raja Nazrin, who is also the financial ambassador for the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre, said.

“At its heart, Islamic finance is an ispiration towards good finance.As we have seen, good finance is about trust, and trust is a cornerstone of stability.

“Therefore, I believe that Islamic finance can help break the vicious cycle of boom and bust that has come to characterise global finance,” he said.

Islamic finance is now a truly global market, participating across borders with a vast range of investment alternatives including sukuk, mutual funds, commodity funds, equity traded funds, real estate investment trusts, shariah compliant derivatives and hedge funds.

People, western or not, want their life’s saving to be safe and they want it to grow and be stable and sufficient to support them in their old age and to pass on as a legacy to their children. If Islamic banking can do this, under sharia, fine. I will put my money there. It would be like a green movement. Do something ethical with your money rather than give it to The Exploiters.

My final reaction was to note that, while Hizb ut Tahrir are not the finatical kooks I thought they might be, it it obvious that they have no serious grasp of diverse social structure or protecting pluralism in any serious way.

In their utopia, the US Constitution, for instance, would be submitted completely to Sharia and non-Muslims would be socially vulnerable.

Hizb ut Tahrir world suffers, like most Muslim shangri-las, from a backwards looking idealism. Civilizations that don’t evolve and progress die. If Muslim organizations cannot accept this and learn to bring Islam forward to this century, they will continue to be irrelevant and out-of-place in the West.