U.K. media is reporting that Britain’s first sharia-compliant insurance company has been established. According to one report:
Britain’s first sharia-compliant insurance company was launched Monday, offering motoring policies in line with the Islamic legal code. Salaam Halal insurance uses Takaful principles, whereby the risk is spread between all policy holders. In contrast, conventional insurance policies shift the risk from the policy holder to the insurance firm. People taking out a policy with Salaam Halal pay contributions into a pool, with that money then put into sharia-compliant investments — avoiding companies that are involved in alcohol or pay interest. The central pool of funds is used to pay any claims that arise, and at the end of the year, if the pool is over-funded, the excess will be distributed back to policyholders through a discount on their next premium. The policies are aimed at Britain’s 1.6 million Muslims, who constitute 2.7 percent of the total population, according to the 2001 census. “The launch of Salaam insurance — the first independent, fully sharia-compliant Takaful operator available in this country — is a significant step for the growth of Islamic finance in the UK,” said Abdulaziz Hamad Aljomaih, the chairman of Salaam insurance. The group, authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, an independent watchdog, hopes to launch home insurance policies later this year. Their call centres in Britain can take calls in English, Arabic, Bengali, Gujarati or Urdu. In 2004, Britain authorised a 100 percent Islamic bank, the Islamic Bank of Britain. And the traditional bank Lloyds TSB last year launched Islamic finance products targeted at businesses, and offered sharia-compliant bank accounts.
According to the Salaam Halal website, the Shariah supervisory board consists of the following three individuals:
- Sheikh Nizam Yaquby
- Dr. Mohammed Ali Elgari
- Mufti Abdul Kadir Barkatulla
The website says that both Yaquby and Elgari are also on the Shairah board of Dow Jones, presumably Dow Jones Islamic Finance described in an earlier post as affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. Elgari is also affiliated with the Islamic Fiqh Academy (IFA), an organ of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. A sample of IFA thinking is contained in one of the organization’s resolutions:
…From secularism spread destructive ideologies which invaded our countries under different names, such as racism, communism, Zionism, freemasonry, etc., which led to the dissipation of the Ummah’s resources and the deterioration of economic conditions The result was the occupation of some of our holy lands, such as Palestine and Al-Quds. This is an indication of its failure to do our Ummah any good.
…Secularism is a man-made system based on principles of atheism which run counter to Islam, in part and whole. It converges with international Zionism and calls for licentiousness. Therefore, it is an atheist sect that is rejected by Allah and His Messenger and by all the believers.
Mufti Barkatulla is listed as Senior Imam at Finchley Mosque, North London. In April 205, U.K. media reported that he suggested banning interest in the U.K. altogether stating:
We see the banning of interest as a social good, helping self-sufficiency, mutuality, and as leading to fairness in society.”
All three individuals are members of multiple Shariah boards of financial institutions not discussed here.
The Muslim Brotherhood has played a critical role in the development of Islamic financial institutions all over the world. An earlier post discussed the Amana investment fund which has doubled its assets since 2003 and is connected to the North American Islamic Trust, itself affiliated with ISNA. Another previous post discussed some of the Islamic financial activities of Youssef Qaradawi, one of the most leaders of the global Muslim Brotherhood. Another Muslim Brotherhood leader who played an early role in Islamic finance is Youssef Nada, the self-described Brotherhood “foreign minister” whose now defunct Al Taqwa Bank drew worldwide attention following the designation of Nada and the Bank as terrorists in connection with the events of 911. Interestingly, the name “Mohamed Elgari Bin Eid” of Saudi Arabia appears in a 1999 phonebook belonging to Mr. Nada although it is not confirmed that this is the same individual discussed above.
(Source: Resolutions And Recommendations Of The Council Of The Islamic Fiqh Academy 1985-2000)