"There Goes the Neighborhood," Shariah Finance Watch reports today. What does that mean?
From the must-read story:
In downtown Washington, there is a major real estate development known as CityCenterDC. This $700 million development is described as a combination of office space, retail space and residential space.
The owner of this development, which will be one of the biggest in all of the District, is Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company. This is the real estate investment arm of the emir of Qatar himself, who rules the Gulf nation.
At this point it may also be worth mentioning that the emir of Qatar has also been involved in funding other projects here in the US. For example, in 2009, he granted $576,000 to the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), the non-profit operated by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan, the primary promoters of the controversial Ground Zero mosque project. The $576,000 grant from the ruling regime of Qatar was by far the largest grant that ASMA received in 2009.
We have attempted to research the Qatari ruling regime’s real estate investment arm (Qatari Diar) but, as is so often the case with Shariah-Compliant institutions and projects, transparency is just not something with which they’re concerned.
For instance, in their FAQs section, they fail to even mention that they have projects in the USA. We can only speculate as to the reason for this omission. They list projects in many other nations, including Cuba, Sudan and Syria.
Most interesting for us, there is no disclosure at all on the web site of Shariah compliance or the employment of Shariah advisers. We suppose that these issues are raised after engagement on real estate deals has already begun. (In other words, after the Qataris flash their cash.) We would be especially interested in knowing whether the Muslim Brotherhood Jihadist Sheikh Qaradawi has any affiliation with Qatar Diar, since he has served as chair of the Shariah supervisory board of Qatar Islamic Bank and Qatar International Islamic Bank.
As a result of the Qatari involvement in the CityCenterDC project, residents, customers and business owners will be forced to abide by certain tenets of Shariah law:
• The development will not be able to lease space to banks due to the Shariah prohibition on paying or receiving interest. This would of course not apply to Shariah-compliant banks and we would not be surprised at all to see such a bank emerge as a possible tenant in CityCenterDC at some point. It will be interesting to see if this amounts to unfair trade practices. Perhaps there could be a legal challenge if this does transpire…
• Retailers whose primary business is the sale of alcohol will be prohibited. This means no bars and obviously no liquor stores, though a liquor store at such a high-end development probably wouldn’t happen anyway.
We suspect that these will not be the only restrictions imposed. They amount to the obvious ones. For instance, what if someone wanted to put a BBQ restaurant in the development, including pork ribs on the menu? Or what if a breakfast place wanted to open up? If bacon was a major aspect of their business, would that be permitted?
What if the Israeli embassy wanted to open an annex in CityCenterDC? Or what if a church or synagogue wanted to move in? How would these issues be handled? Finally, what of zakat? Will a portion of CityCenterDC’s assets be donated to Islamic charities to fulfill zakat obligations? Which charities?
These are all questions for the Shariah supervisory board to decide…
Which just goes to show that this is indeed a form of Islamic imperialism to impose Shariah restrictions on our way of life. This should also serve as a reminder that Shariah is the only form of religious law extant that is expressly designed to apply to people of other faiths.
Shariah, right in our nation’s capital…
Even Washington's CityPaper noticed, which indicates the level of awareness of sharia is rising. Too late?