Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What on earth is an Islamic Bank??!!

Now what on earth is an Islamic Bank supposed to mean??

The Kerala High Court has passed an order restraining the commencement of an Islamic Bank in the state.

A banking institution exclusively for Muslims? And that too in our secular god’s own country - under the auspices of the state government. The company, Al-Barakah Financial Services, was registered by the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) with the holding of 11 per cent equity.

And till now not a single organization or leader inside the state has raised voice against this action which is against the country’s secular principles. The court ruling was made on a public interest litigation filed by Dr. Subramanian Swamy, former Union Law minister and leader of the Janta Party who hails from outside our state.

The company claims that it would function not on the basis of Islamic Laws or the Shariah but in accordance with the Companies Act and the Reserve Bank of India Act. According to the proposal, the bank will not pay interest to customers, while a Shariah board will decide what sort of investments it will make. The proposed bank would have Sharia-compliant banking products and profits made out of the investments would be distributed to the shareholders.

According to Swamy, a Harvard-educated economist, the new firm was bound by the Shariah law and its chief executive was to report to Shariah Advisory Body and not to any constitutional authority and investing public money in such a company was unconstitutional.

This is a blatant case of minorty appeasement purely for the sake of vote banks and is absolutely unacceptable in our democratic setup. Are we now to move towards Nair banks, Roman Catholic banks and so on? It is troubling to see a progressive state like Kerala moving backwards to divisions based on religion and caste. Citizens should be made aware and vigilant against such regressive tendencies of the institutions in power.

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