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Quarterly | Issue 04 | December 2008 EUR 6, USD 9, GBP 4.50, AED 32, MYR 29, ZAR 60

A new focus on the world Cover story: Tilting the balance? Russia and its ties to the Muslim world.

Africa: A fair share in the wealth. On the failure of democracy in South Africa.

Image: dpa/

Law: Following the lead. The Europeans criticise Bush, but copy him.

Image: Aziat Sabri (Moscow, November 2008)

Moscow is also a city of Muslims, page 14.


EDITORIAL By Abu Bakr Rieger.


COVER STORY Tilting the balance? Russia and its ties to the Muslim world.


Also a city of Muslims. The Russian capital connects East and West.


INTERVIEW “More and more difficult”. Zaim Saidi on the financial crisis and Indonesia.


BUSINESS Green power for London. E.ON builds the world's biggest wind farm.


After Oil, your own private nuclear power plant?


FINANCE Tectonic shifts. The Muslims and the financial crisis.


Forgotten, but still relevant. Essay: Ezra Pound and the financial crisis.


The forgotten conflict. Freedom is dying out in Kashmir, page 38.


LAW Following the lead. The Europeans criticise Bush, but copy him.


CHIEF EDITOR Abu Bakr Rieger


PUBLISHER IZ Medien GmbH Beilsteinerstr. 121 12681 Berlin Germany

The siege of Bombay. Capitalism breaths through Terrorism.



The forgotten conflict. Freedom is dying out in Kashmir.




PRINTING msk marketingserviceköln

A fair share in the wealth. On the failure of democracy in South Africa.


EUROPE The beginnings of a change. Potential of the Muslims for industrial cities.


THOUGHT The Oligarchic Tendency. From Politea to The Time of the Bedouin.

GLOBALIA Magazine reserves the right to shorten letters. Readers’ letters, guest articles and quotations do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Editors, nor do articles by named authors. PHONE +49 (0)30 240 48974 MOBILE +49 (0)179 967 8018 FAX +49 (0)30 240 48975 E-mail WEBSITE


GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008



Dear Reader, this is the fourth print edition of the Globalia magazine. In this edition we deal in particular with the relationship of the Islamic world to Russia. Even before the onset of the finanial crisis a number of observers had already recognized Russia as the actual winner of the cold war. The conflict in Georgia clearly demonstrated that Russia does not consider its continental role as being merely a subservient of the transatlantic alliance. Through its wealth in ressources - and alongside Turkey, the other great connecting link on the Eurasian continent – Russia will undoubtedly continue to play a prominent role after the crisis of the virtual currency system. Prime Minister Putin has not only broken systematically with the communist past of his country but has also successfully curtailed the growing power of the Russian oligarchs which emerged in the lawless period of upheaval. Russia’s strength – which Putin recognised and fostered – is certainly the sovereign control of its ressources. 20 million Muslims now live in this multiethnic state. Needless to say, Russia is aware that a relaxed and constructive relationship towards the Muslims of Eurasia can only increase its own global political influence. The alternative would be numerous, new and intractable territorial conflicts with yet further victims dying pointless deaths. The question today, of course, is whether the Muslims of Russia will find an authentic middle way; a way beyond any extremist ideology or banale esotericism. Neither of these two extremes, in the long term, will be able to integrate or educate the Muslim masses of Russia.

It is time to resolve positively the tragic events in the Caucasus which still characterize Russia’s relationship with Islam. It should be remembered once more that the age of meaningful national conflicts and wars of liberation are a thing of past. The Globalia project continues to grow. Alongside our strong internet presence and the further development of our print edition, we are also concentrating on the “Globalia Think Tank”. The aim of this feature – in addition to the formation and support of Muslim journalists – will be the ongoing development of the core themes of our magazine: this will involve intensive analysis in the field of geopolitics, biopolitics, technology and culture. Naturally, we want to continue to present those important minds and thinkers from all over the world who think beyond the demarcations of national borders. The jurist Carl Schmitt pointed out that all the concepts of the state and politics prevalent in the west today are in fact “secularised theological concepts”. For an understanding of Islam and indeed also of the Muslims, it is of utmost importance to work out an independent and specific Islamic terminology. In order to interpret Islam correctly, one must expose afresh European thinking for what it actually is, and then analyse its influence on the Muslims – not least because terrorism makes use of a modern ideology which is incompatible with Islamic thinking of the last centuries.




GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008


Great War, most cleverly carved out the


countries of the Middle East to supply the


energy needs of the Anglo-American hegemony. Thereafter, the Middle East has been the most crucial energy supplier to them.

“The balance of power is changing. The world is

It continues to remain so today.

changing. It is no longer a unipolar world. New centres of power are emerging. Russia is one

Even at present, the Iraq war and the imminent Iran conflict are buttressing

pole. The Islamic world is another pole. If we join

evidence to this strategic importance of the

these two poles then we would have a better

Middle East – chiefly as a region of energy

leverage on the world stage.” (Veniamin Popov,

resource rather than anything else. For a newly emerged energy-superpower such as Russia,

director of the Russian Centre for Partnership of

a strategic alignment – a subtly imposing,


pragmatic and influential presence – in the Middle East is indispensable to counter any unilateral political decision taken by a single

The world is witnessing an unprecedented

tolerate a unilateral power in the world that

power in the world.This is not an entirely fresh

decline of American hegemony and the rise

at any moment it deems fit, is not only ready

entré into the region. In fact, Russia has been

of Russia in parallel as a formidable energy

to denounce such dominance but is also ready

in the Middle East before.

superpower. Russia, after the breakup of the

to respond boldly and appropriately. Russia

Soviet Union, which Putin termed the greatest

has been calling for a multi-polar world for

The Soviet era saw the USSR allied to Algeria,

geopolitical catastrophe in her history, lay

some years now with its new presence in

Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria. Generous

ostensibly crippled for almost a decade

such an important a region to the USA as the

financial aids were given to these countries

towards the end of which period a group of

Middle East, actually reflects the steps Russia

for government spending, to build industrial

oligarchs began dictating both the domestic

is resolutely taking to transform this call into

infrastructure, gas and oil pipelines, to

and foreign affairs of the country.


conduct nuclear research and build nuclear power plants and for scientific research. The

Though Putin himself rose to power under

It is necessary, first of all, to bring to mind

former Sovietunion was a traditional arms

such dictates, he however, could see that any

that the Middle East as a whole consists of

supplier to these Middle Eastern states. In

sympathetic approach to such power would

the major OPEC countries with the largest oil

short, there was a budding economic,

only ruin the nation further. He not only saw

and gas reserves. While only strategic in

diplomatic and military cooperation between

this; he also responded with calculated

having influence over the Mediterranean, it

the two parties.

precision. The Khodorkovsky affair, the

is a link to Europe, Africa and Asia and it has

regulation of economic policies to curb

a large percentage of the world’s Muslim

On the other hand, it is worthy of note that

oligarchic power and, most importantly, the


the Soviet Union did not have any bilateral

nationalisation of a major part of the energy

relations with countries like Saudi Arabia,

industry, were the most significant steps that

When the world saw a shift from coal to oil

Israel and Jordan, which were all part of the

he took to restore Russia’s capacity to act as

as the primary source of energy, Britain – and

Anglo-American alliance that was waging

a major player on the international stage.

later the US contrived and carefully prepared

war on Communism. Thus the bilateral

the Middle East to be by far – the most

relations Soviet Russia had with a part of the

Today, after the events in Georgia, it has

important land mass to serve this purpose.

Arab world were, in large, propelled by

become clear that Russia would no longer

The Sykes-Picot agreement, in the midst of the

ideological impulse.




After 1991 however, with Yeltsin’s Presidency,

March 2006 invitation to the newly elected

intentions to pursue an independent course

Russia ceased all Soviet relations with the

Palestinian leadership, Hamas, to visit Moscow

in the Middle East.The third event marked an

Middle East. For almost a decade, there was

• Putin’s February 2007 visit to Qatar, Saudi

important Soviet/Russian leader’s visit to the

no involvement in the region with the

Arabia and Jordan

region and hence the opening of a new chapter in Russian-Arab relations.

exception of arms supplies and nuclear relations with Iran, which Russia has

Putin’s April 2005 tour is of great signifi-

maintained to date despite all US-Israeli

cance, since it was the first time a

In addition, Russia was one of the ‘quartet

opposition, thanks


Russian/Soviet leader ever visited Israel as

nations’ – Russia, US, EU and UN – assem-

Federation’s 10 billion US-Dollar investment

well as being the first return to Egypt after

bled to effect the ‘road map’ for peace to

in Iran’s nuclear program besides any other

Khruschev’s last trip to the country in 1964.

resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This

reasons. As for the, all ties ceased.

The second event indicated beyond doubt

was in fact the beginning of Russia’s return

that Russia was defying all diplomatic bounds

to her Soviet participation in the Middle East

Thus, until Putin’s Presidency, an entr’acte

laid down by the United States in the Middle

peace process.The latest update on the matter

phase of withdrawal from the international

East and was not willing to adhere to US

is that on the 9th of November, the quartet

stage and concentration on internal affairs set

unilateral decisions even in matters

mediators met at the Egyptian resort of Sharm

in on the history of Russia.The new Federation

pertaining to the War on Terror.

El-Sheikh and decided that the next quartet



of Russia, from the start of the new millennium, washed its hands off all politics

Today, after the Georgi-

meeting will be hosted in Moscow after the new US administration comes to power to

and diplomacy based on any form of ideology.

an event, it has become

discuss the realisation of an independent

This accounts for Russia’s good ties at present,

clear that Russia would

Palestinian state. Palestinian leader, Mahmoud

for example, with Israel as well as with Iran and Syria. The new focus, commencing from Putin’s term of office, became energy (oil, gas and nuclear) and the using of it as a political and econo-

not tolerate a unilateral

now it seems that such a meeting in Moscow

and at any moment it

next spring is highly probable, and it will

deems fit, is not only

mic tool to restore the nation’s independence from international organisations (settling the

dominance but is also

economy, and to restore Russia’s international superpower status. In fact, all of these, Putin

prepare for peace negotiation meetings and

power in the world

ready to denounce such

national debt for example), to bolster up the

Abbas, has visited Moscow four times to

ready to respond boldly and appropriately.

has now successfully executed.

better enable Russia to influence the peace process of the region. In order to put Russia’s pronounced presence in the Middle East into perspective, the build up of Russian-Arab relations in the past few years to what it has become today, is necessary to its aims.

The invitation to Hamas had come only a year In the course of this new phase in Russian

after Putin’s visit to Israel and even though

Russia, Saudi Arabia and Qatar

history, three dramatic events occurred,

it outraged them, the Israelis could not in

In September 2003, Crown Prince Abdullah

indicating Russia’s return to the Middle East

effect respond to that bold action since Hamas

of Saudi Arabia visited the Russian capital

after the Yeltsin entr’acte phase. They are as

had just won a democratic and completely

and signed a five-year oil and gas coopera-


legal electoral process and therefore had to

tion agreement. Following that, Putin in his

be regarded as the official leadership of

high profile visit to the Kingdom in February


2007 was accompanied by heads of major

• Putin’s April 2005 visits to Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian territories

Russian state companies: Gazprom, Lukoil

• Russia’s refusal to recognise Hamas and

It was a brilliant move of what can be termed

and Russian Railways. It was clearly a business

Hizbullah as terrorist organizations and its

as a peace offensive that reflected Russia’s

delegation. Besides signing approximately

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008


Image: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi

Anouncing the cooperation agreement between the Russian Lukoil and Qatar Petroleum.

ten agreements on mutual investments and

technical cooperation was signed on 14 July

Qatar Gas council. Another memorandum

economic cooperation, Putin also offered to

2008 by another Saudi delegation to Moscow.

calling for mutual understanding and the

supply arms and nuclear reactors to the

Indeed, what Putin had mentioned in his

possibility for cooperation between Lukoil

Kingdom, encouraged and invited Saudi

address to Saudi business leaders in his

and Qatar Petroleum was also signed. The

businessmen to increase investments in Russia

February 2007 visit to the Kingdom is worthy

meeting also included discussions to establish

and acknowledged the idea of establishing

of note: “We know all too well how fast the

a gas cartel by Russia, Iran and Qatar.

a Russo-Saudi bank to facilitate this co-

world economy is developing and how much


energy it needs now and will need in the

Concerning Jordan, Putin’s visit was the first

future … and that means that (Russia and

time Russia had made agreements to

Lukoil clinched a lucrative 40-year deal with

Saudi Arabia) are not competitors but allies,

construct gas and oil pipelines, to protect

Saudi Arabia to develop the gas reserves in

not competitors but partners in the develop-

investments and to sell arms. King Abdullah

the northern part of the Rub Al-Khali Desert.

ment of the world’s energy markets.”

II, by attending the MVSV 2008 arms display





in Moscow, has shown interest in Russian


constructing a railway line from Mecca to

In Putin’s visit to Qatar – which, bearing in

weapons. He has also sent humanitarian aid

Medinah was also discussed.

mind has the third largest gas reserves in the

to South Ossetia – food and medical equip-

world and the largest Liquefied Natural Gas

ment – clearly to strengthen ties with Russia.

The following November, Prince Bandar visited

(LNG) production and export facilities, and

Jordan too, like Saudi Arabia, having been an

Moscow and signed the first Military

which is one of the EU’s focus countries in

American-Israeli ally all this while, has now

Cooperation agreement between the two

diversifying from dependence on Russian gas

shown itself willing to diversify from that

countries.A subsequent agreement on military

– agreements were signed to form a Russian-





Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran and Jordan

sign an agreement with Syria to explore and

April 2005 visit to Egypt effected a number

spell an energy alliance with ominous

develop new oil and gas deposits in the coun-

of improvements in Russo-Egyptian relations.

implications for US primacy in the Middle

try. In December the same year, Stroytransgaz

Included was a business forum that took place

East.And while Saudi, Qatar and Jordan seek

signed contracts to construct a 200 million

in which a civilian nuclear cooperation

to diversify from dependence on the US, Russia

US-Dollar gas processing plant in Syria and

between the two countries took place with

and Iran have demonstrated continued

160 million US-Dollars worth of gas pipelines.

a declaration on bilateral relations signed

defiance and opposition to US interests.

Furthermore, a 2.7 billion US-Dollar prelim-

describing the two countries as “strategic

inary deal was settled to begin construction

partners”. Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak,

Cementing Soviet-alliance with Syria, Egypt and Libya

in a future of oil-refining and petrochemical

visited Moscow in November 2006 and met

complex in Syria. Assad, after the US

with Putin to discuss the construction of a

Syria is to Israel what Georgia is to Russia.

confirmed the installation of anti-ballistic

Russian industrial zone in Egypt. In April, the

The Georgian event that exposed Israel’s

missiles in Poland, has now offered Medvedev

following year, Russian industry and energy

hypocritical involvement in Russian affairs

rights to deploy Russian missiles in Syrian

minister,Viktor Khristenko went to Egypt and

has forced Russia’s return to her Soviet

territory. If Moscow does that, the presence

signed a memorandum on establishing this

alliance with Syria. A few days before the

of Russian arms in the Arab countries would

zone. Facilities were proposed to produce

MVSV 2008 arms display in Moscow, Syrian

be increased – another threat to US primacy

equipments for power stations and the oil

President, Bashar Al-Assad, flew into the city

in the region.

industry. As far as arms sales are concerned, Egypt has frankly conceded preference for

(this was immediately after the Georgian

US weapons.

event) and met with Medvedev and Putin. A

While Russia has possibly used Syria to check

Syrian delegation attended the arms

and warn Israel in response to the Georgian

exhibition. Israel is clearly irked by the new

event, it has concentrated effectively in the

Russia has also shown considerable interest

alliance and it seems obvious that Russia’s

process of establishing more vital and

in re-establishing ties with former Soviet allies,

move was deliberately intended to respond

lucrative connections through energy

Algeria and Libya, as well. The first Gazprom

to Israel’s involvement in the training of the

cooperation with the country. However, in

office in Libya has already begun functioning.

Georgian military. Russia appears to be saying

case Israel steps into Georgia again, Russia

After his last visit to Russia in 1985, Qaddafi,

that if Israel meddles in Ossetia, then there

could quite predictably take up its Iskander

on the 1st of November, accompanied by a

is no reason why Russia should not meddle

missile sales to Syria, halted for the moment

large delegation flew to Moscow and met

in the Israeli-Syrian Golan Heights border

in order to preserve its equally beneficial trade

with Medvedev and Putin for the purpose of

conflict and reap some profits thereby

relations with Israel.

increasing investment and business cooper-

through arms sales to the former Soviet ally.

ation in various spheres. He said, “The door

Being caught in a conflict with Israel, Syria

The lesson drawn from this, is that Russia is

to enhancing cooperation in civilian spheres

has no other door to knock besides Russia’s

punctiliously avoiding being ideologically

is open to Russia.” He mentioned to Putin that

for arms support. China is another possibil-

motivated either way, maintaining friendly

cooperation between Russia and Libya would

ity but it is doubtful whether the purely

ties with both Israel and Syria. It should be

have a positive effect on the international

business-oriented China is ready to risk being

stated in passing, that there is an enormous

political situation and the geopolitical balance

caught in a political conflict with the US and

Russian Jewish population in Israel which

of power.


brings a very significant financial inflow of wealth into Russia.

A number of economic agreements had

This was a clear reference to the already declining American hegemony, the rise of

already been signed between Syria and

During his November 2004 visit to Egypt, the

Russia’s economic superpower status that is

Russia during an earlier visit to Moscow by

then Russian Prime Minister, Mikhail Fradkov,

based primarily on energy, and Libya’s

President Bashar Assadin January 2005.

signed several economic agreements with

willingness to cooperate with Russia to

March 2005 saw the Russian company Tatneft

the former Soviet ally. Consequently, Putin’s

catalyse this. Qaddafi, like Bashar Al-Asad,

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008




has further discussed with the leaders of

Though not an entirely political organisation,

between Russian and Arab businesses, and

Russia the possibility of a Russian naval base

the RABC has created opportunities for

stimulating innovative activity.”

in Libya to check American military invol-

Russian and Arab corporations to trade with

vement there. President Qaddafi has also

the two governments, thereby paving ways

It is also critical for Russia to align itself

accepted an invitation from the Chechen

for increased mutual investments.

strategically in the Middle East in order to

President to visit the North Caucasus in 2010.

have influence over the Mediterranean, a

He is also making arrangements to buy

The Council has so far set up three new off-

major trade route between the Middle East

military equipment from Russia and the

shoot committees: Russian-Syrian, Russian-

and Southern Europe. In the region, Greece

former Soviet countries again.

Since most of the Arab

and Cyprus are already considered Russia’s Trojan Horses in the EU. Italy, France and

It is evident now that Russia has successfully

world is Muslim, advan-

Spain have for the most part proved

re-established former Soviet ties with Syria,

cing Russian-Arab rela-

themselves to be Russia’s strategic partners,

Egypt and Libya.

tions has great signifi-

demonstrating willingness to cooperate, parti-

Russian-Arab Business Council The RABC is another trade organisation that

cance to Russia for the very reason that for it-

cularly in the production and transport of energy. With this background, Russia’s alignment with Egypt, Turkey (another vital

has to be taken into account in order to

self has approximately

state that Russia has reinforced its ties

understand Russian-Arab relations. Establi-

20 million Muslims.

with), Syria, Israel, Algeria and Libya

shed in the year 2002 as a joint venture for

demonstrates clearly that Russia’s influence

business cooperation between the Russian

Egyptian and Russian-Lebanese, in order to

in the Mediterranean is bound to grow. This

Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the

concentrate individually on these bilateral

implies greater opportunities for Russia to

General Union of Chambers of Commerce,

ties. The Chairman of the RABC, Vladimir

enter with Qatar into LNG supply contracts

Industry and Agriculture of 22 countries on

Yevtushenkov stated,“The Council’s main job

to Europe, with LNG demand growing and

the Arab side, the RABC is a foundation to

is to create joint committees entrusted with

Russia having for some time now, shown

facilitate and strengthen commercial ties

specific projects between Russia and Arab

signs of an intention to enter the trade. The

between the two sides.

member countries, establishing direct contacts

opportunity appears ripe now.

Russia’s new diplomacy: Prime minister Medvedev with the Syrian President Asad.


| Issue 04 | December 2008


The russian energy wealth is one of the cornerstone of Moscows’ strategy.

Finally, since most of the Arab world is

regional issues, and different attitudes to

Process – Muslim support for Russia, in

Muslim, advancing Russian-Arab relations

Muslim nations. Russia and the US are cer-

contrast that for the US is gradually rising.

has greater significance since Russia itself has

tainly rivals in the Middle East and the rest

Since Russia is now popular for having used

approximately 20 million Muslims. Putin’s

of the Muslim world. The question is what it

energy as a political tool on numerous

alliance with the Arab-Muslim countries and

is based on and how far it may go. It is only

occasions in Europe, its current presence in

his public denunciation and criticism of US

fair that Russia does not want to play the role

the Middle East might possibly deliver a

hegemony, has won the favour of a large

of a US junior partner in Middle East affairs

similar potential for such power in this region

portion of Muslims in his country and around

and in questions pertaining to the destinies

as well.

the world.

of the Muslim world. But Russia can and must

Russia is now an observer in the OIC and

be a partner of the US and the West when its

This much is clear as Russia’s national inte-

national interests are not prejudiced.”

rests – mainly economic – have not been unduly prejudiced with her leaders willing to

considers cooperation with the Muslim world crucial. The following extract from a June

Russia, it can be seen now, has not only -

cooperate with the US, especially now that a

2006 speech by presidential adviser Aslambek

meticulously avoided its former ideological -

non-aggressive, potentially cooperative and

Aslakhanov sums up Russia’s position in the

approach, but has subsequently returned to

dialogue-compliant new administration under

Middle East:“The Middle East and the Islamic

its Soviet allies to form new partnerships.

Obama is coming to power in the US in the

world are important for us as partners in

Secondly, alignments with the Arab world so

new year. Otherwise, Russia remains the only

trade and economic cooperation, a market for

far have been based, for the most part, on

power capable of checking US primacy in the

military hardware, and in perspective, as a

energy cooperation. Thirdly, Russia’s military

world. In this regard, there are possibilities

partner in the energy sphere, and in high

presence with troop deployment and arms

that a New Cold War might well emerge,

industrial technologies. Russia wants to con-

supply to Arab countries has similarly

since Kremlin sources are already indicating

solidate its role as a go-between in settling


that Medvedev might resign with Putin becoming president again.

political disputes between different countries and civilizations … Russia and the US may

Resurgent Russia, as it has come to be

have different positions on international and

known, has entered the Middle East Peace

Text Hasbullah bin Hidayatullah




At the same time, Muslims in the Russian


capital enjoy freedoms that their brethren in


other parts of the continent do not have. As the capital of the Eurasian Russian ‘empire’, Moscow is also the locus of the nation’s

In the future, communities in Moscow will play

Muslim activities. Among the key Muslim

a much more active role within Islam in Europe.

figures are Ravil Gainutdin (Director of the

Unlike many of the communities in Western

‘Spiritual Administration’ of Russia), Abdulvahid Niyazov (Director of the Islamic Cultural

Europe, Russian Muslims do not suffer from an

Centre, which is allied to Gainutdin’s

identity split due to a past history of migration.

organisation), Marat Saifutdinov, and Harun

Islam is considered – even though there have been

Sidorov, who heads a national association of Russian Muslims.

tense moments – part of Russia’s identity. In conversation with Globalia Magazine,Amir Muslims in Russia: a contradictory thought to

restaurants on a par with those of Istanbul.

many. State interference, religious oppression

Personal encounters with Muslim Muscovites,

under the Soviet Union, the ignominious

be they ethnic Russians or Tatars, reveal the

conflict of the northern Caucasus – yet all

kind of self-confidence and intelligence which

these have produced a picture which only

is rare among western European migrants.

partly reflects, if at all, the true state of affairs. A look at the diverse Muslim community in

Moscow, which in the late Middle Ages came

the Russian capital is an experience which

under the sovereignty of the Golden Horde,

puts things into perspective.

is now the European city with the largest Muslim population after Istanbul. As many

Hamdani, a Muslim of Russian extraction, spoke about the situation of the Muslims in the capital. A practising lawyer in his twenties, Hamdani claims that the religious life of Moscow’s Muslims is determined by the “bureaucratic structures” of the official Muslim religious institutions. Known as the Spiritual Administration, these function as official points of liaison with the government. “Some groups have organised themselves in political opposition to these bodies, and

The onion towers of the Kremlin, one of

as three million Muslims live in Moscow and

Moscow’s trademarks and a significant tourist

St. Petersburg combined. The Office of the

magnet, are clue enough that the city’s history

Grand Mufti estimated in 2006 that up to two

is different from that of any comparable

million Muslims live in Moscow. On Fridays

western European capital. The unique archi-

and holidays, the few large mosques are so

rity Tatar or Caucasian groups, the National

tecture of the domes reminds us the centuries-

full that some of the congregation have to

Organisation of Russian Muslims (NORM) is

long relationship between the Russian

pray outside on the street.

fast developing a Muslim community itself

authorities and their Muslim subjects.

propagate, what you might call, a ‘political Islam’, but without constituting any kind of real, living community.” In contrast to the ethnically defined institutions set up by majo-

and to which Hamdani himself belongs. However, even though Islam is one of Russia’s

Despite all the obvious tensions, Islam and

autochthonous religions, the relationship

As has been said, Muslims are not an alien

Muslims are not considered as an immigrant

between Muslims and official politics is often

element in Moscow’s historical make-up. In

or foreign presence as they are in western

an ambivalent one. While politicians on a

the 16th century, a period of Czarist expansion

European cities, rather they constitute one of

national level are open to Muslims and strive

to the East, Muslims began to settle in the

the Russian population’s traditional ingre-

to build up stable links with the Muslim

capital in the quarter which became known

dients. Anyone who doubts this should see

world, attitudes towards Muslims can also

as ‘Tatarskaya Sloboda’. Under the commu-

some of the successful segments of Moscow’s

be marred by racist attacks and nationalist

nist Soviet Union the Muslims, like adher-

Muslim community. There are Muslim

rhetoric in the public arena.

ents to other religions, were oppressed and

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008

Image: AP Photo/ Sergei Ponomarev


prevented from practising their way of life. But after Perestroika many more bornMuslims began to settle in the capital, and, according to Amir Hamdani, “thousands of Russians also began to enter Islam.” In theory, Muslims enjoy full rights and opportunities in Moscow. But in fact they see themselves confronted with difficulties in their daily live, for two reasons. The unresolved conflict in the Caucasus, in which “separatists and terrorists have appropriated the name of Islam for themselves,” had a negative effect on public opinion, says Hamdani. Then there is also the problem of illegal immigration. Both of these things have produced something of a negative public atmosphere. Amir Hamdani is nevertheless highly optimistic. “Despite these setbacks, if you are

of 2007, there was a heated debate about

“historic event”. Situated in the south-east

a recognised Russian citizen then you have

the construction of new mosques between

of Moscow, the establishment is part of a

every opportunity to live in Moscow and

the Muslim community and the governor of

private healthcare centre and currently em-

practise your religion.” There are, he points

the Moscow region, Boris Granov.

ploys 50 doctors and nurses. According to

out, many successful or rich Muslim business-

Gainutdin, the institution satisfies “the right

people in Moscow, and there is also a growing

Political issues aside, the Muslims of the city

of every Russian citizen to receive treatment

interest in Islamic knowledge among the

are involved in a wide range of other activities,

in accordance with their own traditions.” If

Muslim youth.

and among the most dynamic are the Muslim

the model is successful, then it is intended

women.According to Aysha Ivanova, a young

to set up other similar institutions in other

As in other European cities, mosques are one

Muslim academic, Muslim women do

parts of Russia.

of the visible elements of Islam in Moscow.

occasionally have to deal with discrimination

There are currently five official mosques,

in the workplace; nevertheless, she claims,

While in western Europe the image of Islam

which are managed by the “Spiritual Admi-

they make an important contribution to

is sadly still based in many people’s eyes on

nistration” of Russia’s Muslims. Apart from

Islamic life in Moscow. “Many of them are

the conflicts and contradictions of the era of

those, many Muslims meet to pray together

very active. They have founded a number of

migration, in Moscow, a dynamic Muslim

in Jamat Khanas and private apartments.

associations, and run organisations for women

community has emerged. Forward-thinking

When it comes to building mosques there are

and children.”

European Muslims believe that in the future, with the capabilities and connections that

also parallels with the rest of Europe; with construction projects meeting with approval

2007 saw another example of how Moscow’s

the community possesses, it could play a

in some political quarters and resistance in

Muslims have organised themselves civil

stabilising and constructive role for Muslims

others. In 2004 Moscow’s mayor, Yuri

projects; the opening of a Muslim clinic.

in Europe generally.

Luzhkov, supported the erection of a new

Grand Mufti Shaykh Ravil Gainutdin,

mosque in the capital, whereas at the end

described the opening of the clinic as a

Text By Sulaiman Wilms




in short, the cost of living generally is


increasing. As far as most Indonesians are


concerned, regardless of the economic crisis in the US, the situation in Indonesia has been worsening for the last ten years. The main

Indonesia has already been hit hard by the Asia

thing is that the cost of living is still very

crisis in 1997. Its impacts – especially in the field

high. In other words, despite the govern-

of economic and monetary stability – are still

ment’s claim that the poverty rate is in decline, in fact, life for people is becoming more and

being felt by most of the population. There are

more difficult.There must be something more

no estimates yet as to what the current crisis will

fundamental that we have to look at in order

bring for the impoverished population.

for people to see what the real cost of the crisis is so that we can have a better perspective on, and better cures for the

Indonesia was hit hard by the financial

problems of foreign sweatshops, strip-

crisis in 1997, so much so, that its people

mining and de-forestation.

disease of the economy. Globalia: So the effects of the 1997 crisis

are still feeling its effects over ten years later. Nowadays, the biggest Muslim

In order to find out more about the

impacted Indonesia more than the

country in the world is not just faced

situation in the Archipelago, we spoke

current financial crisis so far?

with the impact of the recent crisis, but

with Zaim Saidi, a professional journalist

is also entangled in the economic power

and counselor living in the capital,

struggle between Western interests and

Jakarta. He is also an expert on the socio-

a growing Chinese influence. Indonesia’s

economical activities of non-governmen-

economy, as in other so-called ‘Third

tal organisations (NGOs) and educates

World’, countries, suffers from the

personnel on matters relating to public relations and fund-raising. In addition, Zaid Saimi is the director of a project promoting the introduction of a bi-metallic currency system, the gold Dinar and the silver Dirham. For this purpose he

Zaim Saidi: Yes, because it directly impacted on the local financial industry. Even so, what is happening right now will probably have a more noticeable impact in the near future, given, as we can see, there may well be a domino effect with the financial crisis affecting other parts of the world, because, as we know, that the current financial system is an integrated world network. So what is happening in the US or in European countries, will affect Indonesia, for instance.

heads up and operates a wakala in the Indonesian capital.

Globalia: How does Indonesia see itself economically between the US, on the one

Globalia: Concerning the economic

side, and China, on the other?

situation in Indonesia, how has it been affected by the current crisis?

Zaim Saidi: China is having an ever-increasing influence on the economy. We can see this

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008

Zaim Saidi: The impact appears not much

from people’s daily experience, as people buy

better than, when compared to the similar

more and more Chinese products. You can

crisis of 1997, the effects of which Indonesians

see it in food, machinery, clothes, toys;

are still feeling. That impact can still be seen

anything. The thing is that Chinese products,

in the food prices, energy prices and clothing,

on the one hand, are cheap compared to


other products, even though on the other,

Indonesia as unstable, which is why there

This has happened because they have seen

quality-wise, they are not always very good.

has been quite a big flight of capital from In

that there are better places; they are moving

Because people’s purchasing power is

donesia to China, mainly through these

to Vietnam or China, even Thailand. They are

weakening and the cost of living is rising

Indonesian-born Chinese. If you look at the

footloose investments, so they can go anytime,

higher and higher, Chinese products are

figures, they are only 3 per cent of the

anywhere they like; anywhere they can make

becoming more popular. On another level,

Indonesian population but they control 95

a bigger profit. In general though, the

the influence of China is also strong, for

per cent of the Indonesian economy – so you

presence of these multi-national companies

instance, in the energy sector because

can see how strong they are. All the manu-

does not necessarily make the country’s

Indonesia now exports quite a lot of liquid

facturing, industry, distribution, market places;

economy or the people’s situation better.They

gas to China.

basically, the outlets of almost all products

are looking for cheap raw materials, cheap

are under the control of the Indonesian-

labour and high number of consumers. We


have 220 million people living in Indonesia,

Globalia: Do you expect Indonesia to be taken over by China economically?

so for them, Indonesia is very important Globalia: How would you compare Indo-

because they can get what they want: raw

nesia and Malaysia in economic terms?

materials, cheap labour and a market.

Indonesian economy, is that the economic

Zaim Saidi: Malaysia seems to be in a better

Globalia:You are working on a project to

capacity of the country is shrinking; the

position. If you look at the 1997 event, the

reintroduce a bi-metallic currency,

production capacity and, I guess, also the

Malaysian government took a stronger stance

specifically the gold Dinar and the silver

know-how. In other words, what is happening

by rejecting the intervention of the IMF and

Dirham. Could you tell us a bit about

right now is that Indonesia is becoming a

the World Bank. We can see that the impact

your project and the intentions behind it?

consumer zone. The capacity of the country

of the crisis was not as bad for Malaysia as

in terms of producing and manufacturing

it has been for Indonesia. Secondly, we can

Zaim Saidi: Before answering that question,

goods has been reduced with knowledge

see the flow of Indonesian labourers going

let me add one more factor, which is the

slowly being lost due to the influx of Chinese

to Malaysia as another indication; thousands

financial sector itself.After the crisis in 1997,

products. So I would expect that if nothing is

of Indonesian workers are trying to make a

the dependency of the Indonesian finance

really changed, and that the government and

living in neighbouring countries.

sector on foreign investors increased.

Zaim Saidi: The one thing that has become clear with the entrance of China into the

the people of Indonesia fail to respond in a

Ironically, in the name of monetary

proper way, we will see China as the dominant

Globalia: How do you see the existence

independence, the strength of this foreign

force in the country.

of so-called sweatshops in Indonesia,

financial industry in the country has

manufacturing goods for international

strengthened. One of the indications is that

companies, such as Nike?

in 1999, a law was passed giving indepen-

In fact, despite mainland China in the Indonesian context, we must understand that

dence to the Central Bank, making the

in Indonesia we see the dominant economic

Zaim Saidi: That’s another matter. Since the

Governor of the Central Bank quite separate

actors as the so-called overseas Chinese,

eighties, many multi-national companies have

from the cabinet of the Republic of Indonesia,

Indonesian-born Chinese. They have a very

been operating in Indonesia thanks to friendly

so he is, therefore, not actually answerable

strong link, of course, with their families or

government policy towards large corpora-

to the Indonesian President.

their kin on the mainland. So, the business

tions.There are a lot of electronics companies,

network, I am sure, although I have no hard

clothing companies, food producers and now

Today, if you look at the ownership of the

facts to hand, is very strong. A lot of Indo

even computer companies. They’ve also

finance industry, foreign bankers own almost

nesian-born Chinese have investments in

created these so-called ‘free-zone’ areas.

fifty per cent of it. This therefore is one of the

China, because the other problem in Indonesia

However, in the last few years, quite a few of

causes for the economic difficulties in the

right now is that most foreign investors see

these companies have closed down.

finance industry.




New Order government took power, in other words, after thirty years of capitalism and oppression in the country, the gold price at the time had reached 20 thousand Rupiah per gram. So, from 2 Rupiah, to 200 Rupiah and thirty years later, to 20 thousand Rupiah, about 100 times higher again. Then, immediately after the crisis, the gold price jumped to an astonishing 100 thousand Rupiah.Today, 2008, the gold price is about 280 thousand Rupiah per gram! In just over sixty years, from 1967 to 2008, from the beginning of the Republic of Indonesia until today, the purchasing power of Indonesians has been reduced about 140 thousand fold. Money is nothing but numbers. It is for this reason that The sweatshops are a by-product of the economic sell-out of Indonesia.

we should use gold as the standard, because gold is, and has been money. It’s very clear

One of the basic indicators of poverty, in the

communist and socialist ideologies. So

that the only currency that can bear so-called

real sense, is people’s purchasing power.

Suharto came in as the second president who

inflation, is either gold or silver. So, what I am

However, if you look at the mainstream

was in fact fully supported by the

saying is that had the people in government

indicators of poverty, as defined by the World

international banking system; the IMF,World

still kept, let’s say, a gram of gold in their

Bank for instance, you will find misleading

Bank and many other international banks, so

pocket, now they would have no problem. A

figures.They will be stated in terms of income

bringing him lots of investment.

gram of gold in 1947 is worth a gram of gold

per capital, or in terms of income per day, for

in 2007.

instance, $2 USD a day is the lowest level of

From that period on, the Republic of Indonesia

poverty. But, in reality, it doesn’t mean

embraced a capitalist economic system. I

Globalia: So, what do you feel is a viable

anything, because what really makes people

want to use the gold price as an indicator, so

solution to the current crises?

poor or better off is their ability to buy things,

in 1965, the gold price had already jumped

in other words, their purchasing power. Now,

by about 100 fold to 200 Rupiah per gram,

The bi-metallic currency is the best solution

if you look at the purchasing power – let’s

during the time of the so named New Order.

to the current and recurring monetary crises.

use gold as our standard – in 1947,

Because of the influence of international

There is no other way than to embrace the

immediately after the independence of the

banking, you can see from time to time, that

bi-metallic system than in the shape of the

Republic of Indonesia, when the central bank

at various moments, the government was

Gold Dinar and the Silver Dirham.The question

produced the so called paper ‘Rupiah’, the

forced to devalue the Rupiah. If I remember

is how do we start? The task of Muslims,

price of gold was 2 Rupiah per gram.

correctly, five times during a thirty-year period,

wherever they are, is to do it on a practical

the New Order government was forced to

level, just to implement it. As our experience

Now let’s jump to the early 60’s; from 1945

devalue the currency. As I said, in 1965, the

in Indonesia has shown, the first thing to do

to 1965 was the period known as the Old

gold price was 200 Rupiah per gram, so it was

is to return to the collection of the Zakat,

Order under President Surkarno, but in 1967

already 100 times the price it was when the

because it is clearly defined that the Zakat

there was a dramatic change when

Central Bank was first established in 1947.

on monetary wealth can only be paid in either

Surkarno’s regime was ended because it was considered too leftist; too close to the

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008

the Gold Dinar or Silver Dirham.That’s the first Now let’s jump to 1997, thirty years after the



Globalia: What are you actually doing in

In Indonesia, we are already at the stage

it’s still very small, but in terms of growth and

Indonesia by way of implementing the

where we have the first three functions but

the spread in the use of gold, it’s very

Dinar and how does your wakala

we are yet to develop the last one, which is

convincing. In the last 10 months, since the


the most important part of all because, once

mortgage crisis in the US in November 2007,

we have a payment system then I am sure

we’ve seen more and more people ex-

Zaim Saidi: That is the next stage. After the

more and more people will join and exchange

changing their paper money for gold. We

Dinar has been minted, then the immediate

their paper money for gold.

established a master wakala in February 2008 and until now, we’ve founded 17 effective

thing to be done is distribution. How to distribute the coin and at the same time

Globalia: Do you see interest in the Dinar

educate the public about its use. For the

increasing due to the collapse of the

distribution, we have developed this wakala

financial system?

wakalas. If you look at the growth in the minting of the coin itself, it’s also very encouraging. From

network. So basically, the wakala will have several functions; when fully operational, its

Zaim Saidi: Of course, yes. If you look at the

the master wakala, we are reaching a figure

first function will be the distribution of the

development of the Dinar and the wakala

of about 1500 coins a month. In terms of

coin itself, meaning people can exchange the

in Indonesia, we started our first wakala in

numbers it may seem very small, but if you


the year 2002, and then by 2003 or 2004,

look at the people who are getting gold Dinars

we already had three sub-wakalas. At the

and the growth and the spread, we can see

The second function will be its transfer-

beginning we were very small. Our first

that in one, two, three more steps, we might

ence, when people want to send currency

wakala was started with 25 gold Dinars,

see a fully functioning gold Dinar economy.

to other places, for example, to their

and slowly, we we have seen the use of the

children, their families, their friends, etc.

Dinar increase rapidly, especially in the last

The wakala network will function as a

year, after the sub-prime mortgage crisis in

courier of the coins.

the US. If you look at the absolute number,

The third function of our wakala will be to

Globalia: Thank you very much! Interview Yasin Alder

The permanently devaluated Rupiah is in need of a functioning alternative.

act as a keep-safe, because people nowadays are anxious as to where to keep the gold because of security issues. So what the wakala can do is to provide a gold keeping service. So what we’ll do is keep the gold in a safe place for a small charge, like a safe deposit box. The fourth function, in order to make the gold coins an effective currency, is the provision of a payment system so that people can actually perform transactions with the gold and silver coins; the payment system will be equipped with electronic mediums like a mobile phone or an internet-based function. However, since an internet-based system is not very secure perhaps the mobile phone system would be safer.

18 19


much welcome the fact that the British


government has expressed its support for


this important undertaking. And we are pleased to have found a strong partner in Masdar who can work with us in

E.ON and Masdar have joined forces to partner in the London Array, an offshore wind farm project which, when built, will be the world's largest

implementing this challenging undertaking, as well as other projects in the field of renewable energy. The London Array is part of our strategy of massively expanding E.ON’s renewable energy portfolio, towards which

offshore scheme. The wind farm will be installed on a 90 square mile (145 square kilometre) site and will be built in two stages.

we will be investing around six billion euros between now and 2010.” Sultan Al Jaber, who heads the state-financed Masdar Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, considers E.ON an innovative partner for the

According to the German power group E.ON,

20 per cent of the mega-project to the

future, especially since the Germans have

Abu Dhabi’s Masdar Group has now provided

Arabian enterprise.

numerous other projects on the table that

details of its involvement in the construction

represent potential investment opportunities

of the London Array, to be the world’s biggest

E.ON’s Chief Executive, Wulf Bernotat, spoke

for his group.To begin with, however, they will

offshore wind farm. E.ON and the Danish

about the collaboration with the Arab

work together to build the London Array wind

energy conglomerate Dong Energy had

company: “The London Array is a significant

farm in the Thames estuary to the east of the

previously held equal shares in the

project aimed at tapping into the enormous

city.Around 271 wind turbines, with a planned

undertaking, but now E.ON has transferred

potential of offshore wind power. We very

capacity of up to 1,000 megawatts, will eventually supply approximately 750,000 households with electricity. The total cost of this giant find farm will run to around 2.6 billion euros, with the first building phase of up to 175 turbines due for completion in 2012. For the United Kingdom, the project is an enormous step forward in terms of renewable energy. Prime Minister Gordon Brown expressed a personal interest in the contract, commenting after a meeting with the heads of E.ON and Masdar: “This is an excellent example of the partnership we need between oil producing and oil consuming countries to develop new energy sources and technologies, diversifying their economies and reducing our dependence on carbon.The scope and vision of the London Array is ground-breaking, and it catapults the

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008


United Kingdom to the forefront of offshore wind development.”

After Oil, your own private nuclear power plant?

Ed Milliband, Britain’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, stated: “The London Array project, at 1000 megawatts, will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world.” Offshore wind power has the potential to create as many as 70,000 new “green jobs” for the country, and the wind farm could provide enough power for a

Over the past few decades, it has become apparent to all that the current situation with regards to energy is untenable; we simply cannot carry on in this way. According BBC Meteorologist, Helen Willets, our climate is changing at an unprecedented rate. As things stand, we in the West are overly dependent on foreign oil reserves.

quarter of London’s homes and will contribute significantly towards achieving Britain’s renewable energy targets.As soon as the goahead is given, building will begin around 20 kilometres off the coast of Kent and Essex. Masdar is an initiative of the United Arab Emirates for the development and promotion of renewable energies. Its best-known project is the construction of a completely ecofriendly model city supplied fully by renewable energy, 30 kilometres east of the capital Abu Dhabi. Masdar is working with a string of power companies and suppliers in the field of innovative renewable energies, and is constantly on the look-out for investment opportunities. The Masdar Group is already well known in Germany, having begun on 20 August 2008 with the building of a new factory in Thüringen.A high-tech production facility for the manufacture of thin-layer solar modules, it is situated at Erfurter Kreuz, south of the regional capital, and is scheduled for completion in autumn 2009. The Gulf Arabs are investing 150 million euros in the project, promising to create 180 jobs by 2010 and 600 jobs in the medium term. (Source:

Oil production is in decline while, consumption from emerging markets (namely, China and India) is accelerating and shows no signs of slowing down; experts predict that between 20 and 40 billion barrels could still be recovered in the next 40 years. After that, who knows? Even though most agree that nuclear power offers clean, emission-free, affordable energy, some environmentalists have found cause for concern, just as they have with almost every other conceivable alternative; as nuclear power is the cause of environmental contamination, so they say wind turbines are harmful to birdlife, solar power is too expensive, and the list goes on. All that aside, until now, has still seen the problem of the impracticality of nuclear power: it is primarily available from large, expensive power stations that take decades to build. Because of their impracticable nature, it is often difficult to build them in areas where they will be of most benefit, either due to a lack of available land, the population where they are needed being too small to warrant the expense of a massive power station, or some other reason. All that could be about to change with the invention of Hyperion. Magazine)

Text By Peter Ziegler

Developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, like a conventional power

station, it is said to provide clean, emissionfree nuclear energy, at a fraction of the cost of fossil fuels.The main benefit of Hyperion is its size, which at approximately 1.5 meters across is literally small enough to be transported by road or by sea. Unlike its much larger cousin, the Hyperion modules are completely unobtrusive, especially, since they are buried beneath the ground. The technology behind Hyperion supposedly ensures that it is also extremely safe. The modules include no moving parts and are delivered sealed, so there is no need for them to ever be comprised. Even if one were to be opened, the material inside would not be suitable for proliferation purposes. There is also no risk of a ‘melt down’, as the small amount of fuel inside cools down instantly. And as if that wasn’t enough, the amount of waste created is said to be minimal (about the size of a football over a five year period). With a single Hyperion module, it is potentially possible to power 25,000 average-sized homes, or the industrial equivalent, for half a decade. Some still remain sceptical about the viability of the project. According to Los Alamos Study Group Executive Director Greg Mello, “This whole idea is loony and not worthy of too much attention. Of course, factoring in enough cronyism, corruption, official ignorance and boosterism, it's possible the principals could make some money during the initial stages, before the crows come home to roost.” So, could Hyperion hold the key to the world’s energy problems? Let’s just say that not everyone thinks so. Text By Adil Morrison




Immediate impact of the financial crisis: A lot of people in the USA are doomed to lose their homes through foreclosure.

“When crisis strikes, it is the poor and


disempowered whose lives are most


thrown off balance and are the slowest to recover, sometimes never to be regain the position they were in before,” Sakiko

In order to find new ways of thinking, with regards

Fukuda-Parr, Professor of International Affairs

to questions on the economy and the monetary

at the New School in New York

system, everything needs to be revised. The effects

The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers on

of the financial crisis are deafening and give an

September 14 proved to be the first sign of

eerie glimpse of the future. We already know of

the still unfolding global financial crisis. Since

the mass poverty that contributes to the enormous

then, worldwide, 9 trillion dollars has been spent to prevent a complete depression

number of fatalities, either as a direct result of

reminiscent of 1929’s Great Depression. The

mal-nutrition and disease, or one of global pover-

world's media is talking about a so-called

ty’s by-products violent crime, drug addiction, riots and civil war.

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008

“financial crisis”. In the USA, there was an even more misleading term established, the “credit crunch”. Unlike previous historic


events, we are not without information; on

The large movements of wealth within the

Russia seemed on the verge of a meltdown

the contrary, we are being bombarded with

East are laying foundations. Trade and

when foreign investment dried up; a condition

more or less meaningless facts.

manufacturing from China, the booming

caused by the Russo-Georgian war, then later

service industries of India, Russia spinning the

compounded with the crisis that erupted on

While the mainstream global discourse is

web of oil and gas pipelines into Western

Wall Street. The Kremlin responded by

focused on the description of recent events

Europe and the Turkish return to dominate

pressuring oligarchs to inject up to 30 per cent

– beginning in the USA and then spreading

Middle Eastern politics.

of their wealth into the financial markets and

in real-time to rest of the world – as merely

banks, and to buy up collapsing financial

a crisis, there is a dire need for a different -

At present, Western styled economics is

institutions. This move may have helped to a

perspective, which enables us, Muslims and

merging with the traditions of the East. This

certain degree, but the Kremlin still faced

Non-Muslims, to understand its meanings.

major difficulties. Without much hesitation

“This was a crisis of That the global crisis might be a historic

Russia dipped into its own reserves, and forked out a figure in the region of 400 billion

drumbeat or even a turn of an era; is surely

capitalism and even the

dollars. Over 200 billion was spent buying up

no surprise. Mountains of unpayable debt,

greatest advocates of

all of their foreign debt, and a further 180

inflation and speculation; the irrationality of unbridled capitalism was clear for anybody

the free market are for-

billion on company debts.

who wanted to see it.The so-called “Western

ced to face reality that

The drop in commodity prices has further

enlightenment” left the economic sphere a

when capitalism fails it

impacted the economy. Its acquisition of a 7

long time ago.

has to be bailed out by

per cent stake in the Caspian Pipeline consortium from Oman raised its share to 31 per

In order to find new ways of thinking, with

the state. It is capitalist

cent. Such moves made by Russian firms are

regards to questions on the economy and

when it goes up and

tied-in with the prospect of controlling Central

the monetary system, everything needs to be revised; from the geopolitical impact of the crisis, and the subsequent tectonic shift of

socialist when it comes down.” Dr Terry Lacy

Asian oil flows to the money markets of Europe. The profitability of Russian interests rest with such consolidations of pipeline

influence to different zones like Eurasia or

geopolitics. As Putin once stated, “whoever

China; to the dire need for the Muslims in the

controls the production, distribution and the

world to start thinking anew on issues of

can be seen with Chinese imperialist

currency, which go beyond an attempt to

tendencies marking its economic policies, as

contain capitalism within the so-called

opposed to its political assertions. Their

Both Turkey and Russia appear to have

“Islamic Banking”. There is, at this very

emergence as a powerful force in trade, and

reverted to old foreign policies, with regards

moment, an imperative for new questions –

being the biggest creditor for most of the

to their stance on Europe, that have left them,

and of course new answers.

developing and third world as well as the

for a long time, insecure and at the mercy of

USA, is causing a shift that once prevailed in

dominant powers. Both countries have turned

the West.

towards old foreign policies to once again

The effects of the financial crisis are deafening and give an eerie glimpse of the future.

price of oil controls power.”

regain their lost identities.

We already know of the mass poverty that

With money comes power:Turkey and Russia,

contributes to the enormous number of

prior to the collapse in Wall Street, decided

Turkey has given itself a new lifeline by

fatalities, either as a direct result of mal-

to pay off their debt by 2008. What was also

reaching out to old domains, such as actively

nutrition and disease, or one of global-

of interest, was that these two countries,

taking part in trade with North Africa and

poverty‘s by-products: violent crime, drug

along with a few others including Brazil and

the Middle East and is now using its influence

addiction, riots and civil war.

Argentina, rejected new dollar-based loans.

to broker peace deals in some conflict areas.




Using this crisis as a prelude for a new

A proposed alternative

Russian financial architecture, President

It is due to the crisis, that “Islamic Banking”

Medvedev proposed that the (dollar)

and its proponents have become increasingly

monopoly be replaced. For sometime now,

confident.This segment of the financial indus-

Russia has been assessing this concept, it

try, albeit developing for quite a while, has

seems to have become an official doctrine

seen an increase in interest during the past

of Russian policy. In his annual address to

years and months, since international banks

the federal assembly, the President

began incorporating this aspect of the finan-

announced the first step necessary in the

cial services market into their own portfolios.

process to convert trade of oil and gas exports to Rouble.

“We are not dependent from bonds and stocks,” assured Adnan Ahmed Yousef,

This seems to challenge long standing notions,

Chairman of the Union of Arab Banks. Steven

in play for the last century, yet Russia may not

Amos, from the Islamic Bank of Britain,

be the first to call for a change in the regional

described the trade with non-existing wealth

currency for procuring important resources.

as forbidden for the “Islamic Banks”.

There is a sense of change setting in the

Furthermore, is it impossible for his bank to

domains of world polity.

loan money to other banks.

for the economy. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan

Russian Centre for Partnership of Civilisations

The global Muslim finance industry is esti-

said, “that if Turkey were firmly planted in EU

director Veniamin Popove, spoke clearly at the

mated to be growing at about 20 per cent per

membership, process investor confidence

Russian-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group

year and has funds under management of

would be built.” But membership of the EU

held in Jeddah: “The balance of power is

between 1 trillion and 2 trillion US-Dollars.

can be considered only an option for Turkey,

changing. The world is changing. It is no

Hatem El Nakrashaoui, Dean of Theology at

and not a must. Old doors to the Middle East

longer a unipolar world. New centres of

the University of Doha, thinks that Islam offers

and Central Asia have been re-opened. Due

power are emerging. Russia is one pole. The

“an alternative to capitalism” for the “radical

to the importance of pipeline geopolitics and

Islamic world, led by the Kingdom of Saudi

reformation” of the global financial system

foreign trade, this area, for Turkey, has

Arabia, is another pole. If we join these two

to come. His Saudi-Arabian colleague, Sulai-

become more significant.

poles then we would have a better leverage

man El Audah, suggested an international

on the world stage.”

summit at which a framework for such an

Ankara, however, sees EU membership and trade as the most important long-term anchor

The other important aspect is, that Turkey

“Islamic alternative” could be formulated.

witnessed its trading with neighbours as a

As of late, links between the Muslim World

shield to financial fluctuation caused by the

and Russia are growing at a considerable

Entangled within the financial web

crisis. State Minister Kursad Tuzmen proposed

rate.Already an observer at the Organisation

Although the “Islamic Banks” seem to have

a free trade zone between Muslim countries

of Islamic Conference, Moscow has stepped

surpassed the first wave of this crisis, they

and urged that, “We should realise this

up its role within the Muslim World thereby

cannot escape the flaws of the banking

quickly”.Tuzmen went on to say that although

gaining much of its sympathy.The 1997 Asian

systems. In the Gulf States, for example, their

there has been a 10 per cent decline in the

crisis has lead to many developments with-

boom has been directly linked to the

share of Turkish exports to the EU, it has

in the financial structures of the Muslim world.

construction boom.“The fate of Islamic banks

managed to increase its overall exports by 35

Malaysia seems to have got away with little

in the region is closely tied to the property

per cent. This was due to its doubling of

harm ever since its move away from the risk

markets as they are required to underpin

exports to countries from the Organisation for

markets to the more subdued “Islamic

transactions with physical assets due to the

Islamic Conference (OIC).


ban on interest”, reports Frederik Richter.

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008





“Islamic banks may initially have been viewed

are very strong arguments that suggest that

Vadillo concludes, “in Islam you cannot use

as [being] less impacted because they are

“Islamic Banking” is too much of an intrin-

debts as money. In the case of paper money,

unable to invest in the instruments that

sic part of general banking to be able to live

which is not backed by specie (it is no longer

caused the current instability some 18 months

up to its promise. One of the strongest, but

a debt, although it used to be), the banker

ago”, said Danie Marx, Head of Treasury and

by far not the only critic of “Islamic Banking”

is trading with receipts whose value is due

Capital Markets at European Islamic

is the Islamic scholar and economist Umar

to the legal compulsion of the State. The

Investment Bank.“However, as the instability

Ibrahim Vadillo, who has been working for

present paper money is in fact a tax. There

drags on, and the second-phase impact of

more than 20 years on the subject of Islam

is no way of allowing this in Islam. Not only

the crisis spills over into the region, either as

and currency.

do the Islamic Bankers trade with paper money, they contribute to the creation of

restricted liquidity or adverse movement in asset prices, for example in real estate, it

He reasons: “Islamic Banks are still Banks. By

more paper money through the creation of

could start to hurt them.”

their financial practices”, says Vadillo, “these

deposits. It must be noticed that a bank

institutions are linked to fractional reserve

deposit functions just like money.”

Another downfall for the proponents of the

banking.” And fractional reserve banking is

“Islamic Banks” is the recent state of the

“the essence of fiat money”. This money is,

Islamic Banks are clearly not exempt from

Sukuks market. Mushtak Parker has an

according to Vadillo’s argument, and that of

the overall system of creating “money out of

estimate of this financial product. “Perhaps

many other serious critics of the prevalent

nothing”, which is the core of fractional

the biggest impact of the credit crunch has

monetary system, the root cause of the

reserve banking. It is responsible for most of

been on the market. Sukuk are Islamic

problem at hand.

the money in circulation. Vadillo’s final

securities, whose issuance has dramatically proliferated over the last decade. […] Sukuk structures and arrangers such as Malaysia’s CIMB group and banks such as HSBC, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and Citigroup, all confirm that the Sukuk market has virtually 'dried up’ as a result of the credit crunch.” So far, the financial industry, discussed above, is not independent but inter-linked with the existing monetary system. “The reality is that so far Islamic finance has been very integrated into global capitalist structures, with little emphasis on extending the more radical and unique profit and loss sharing concepts to poorer Muslims in poorer countries,” said the development economist Dr Terry Lacy.

Counter-arguments So far, even taking the obvious existing problems of “Islamic banking” into account, there seems to be a consensus within the Islamic world that this is the most promising answer to the crisis of capitalism, but there

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008


argument is crushing: “Islamic Banking is

Gold Dinar standard may soon become a real

investments”, says e-dinars’ CEO Dr Habib

part of banking. It is Haram and its practice

possibility. “Once established, it will work as

Dahinden,“must be based on real rather than

is the most deceitful machination against

a potent magnet,” wrote the Italian Journalist

fiat money. Most commodities, with the

Islam that we have ever had in our history.”

Loretta Napoleoni. “With an Islamic gold

exception of bullion and oil do not own one

dinar‚” she quotes Jude Wanniski, President

essential attribute of real money: they are

Going back to the basics

Ronald Reagan’s economic advisor, “the

not universal. Since oil is rather difficult to

There is a growing discontent with the exis-

Islamic world would have the best money in

store for an average person and the only

ting monetary system in the Muslim World

the world. The US would be forced again to

precious metals available in sufficient

compounding a serious need for change.

introduce fixed exchange rates with the Euro

quantities to serve as money are gold and

Muslim scholars like Vadillo, but also politi-

and the Yuan/Yen bloc would join as well.The

silver, the choice is self-evident.”

cians, especially Dr Mahathir Mohammed,

best money becomes a magnet for inter-

are therefore demanding the establishment

national finance, because exporters and

of an Islamic real-money currency and the

importers of every country in the world can

return to correct Muslim business contracts.

save many hundreds of billions of Dollars a

“In 2001, Malaysia attempted to reintroduce

year they now spend hedging against currency

the Gold Dinar as a reserve currency to be held

losses in the global trade.”

in the central banks of Muslim countries. Prime Minister Mahathir hoped that by 2003,

“The Islamic model”, writes Umar Ibrahim

at least a dozen of the 57 countries in the

Vadillo,“uses physical commodities as money.

Organisation of Islamic Conference would

The Gold Dinar and the Silver Dirham are

join the system. For several reasons, the

known as the Shari’ah currency.“ The Dinar

attempt never came to fruition and which

and the Dirham are, according to Vadillo,

included Washington’s opposition to the plan,

fundamental in preserving a stable currency.

to the extent that the White House convinced

“It does not suffer inflation because it cannot

the IMF to prohibit any member state from

be substituted by credit money, since credit

pegging its currency to gold.”

money has no validity in Islamic Law.”

“With Islamic finance growing at the speed

This is of wider importance when it concerns

of light, and the dollar losing its shine, the

the zone of investment. “Sharia-compliant

Text By Mohammed Dockrat & S. Wilms

Bibliography Umar Ibrahim Vadillo,“Fatwa on Banking”, October 2006. Loretta Napoleoni, “Rogue Economics”, Seven Stories Press, April 2008. Frederik Richter, “Gulf Arab Islamic banks eye slowing real estate”, International Herald Tribune, 17 October 2008. Mushtak Parker, “Islamic finance and the global financial crisis”, The Muslim News, 25 October 2008. Terry Lacey, “The Muslim World and the Global Crisis”,The Tripoli Post, 2 November 2008.




Pound. Encyclopaedic entries about him tend


to be ambivalent: “Pound is among the most


influential American authors of the 20th century. He lived from 1922 to 1945 in Rapallo, sympathised with Italian fascism,

In the world of literature and arts there is

and was consigned to a psychiatric hospital

normally little if no interest given to monetary

in Washington until 1958 on account of his

and financial questions. One of the few, notable

anti-American propaganda broadcasts. Pound wrote prolific prose and poetry [...]. His

exceptions was the greatest American poet of

principal work, the epic cycle of poems

the 20th century, Ezra Pound. His serious critique

entitled The Cantos (from 1915), contrasts a

of the financial system should also be taken into

devalued, commercial, capitalist world with a humanist utopia.”

account by todays’ Muslims. When Italy was conquered by Allied forces in 1945, the American poet gave himself up With Usura


With usura hath no man a house of good

a very few exceptions, there are few signs

to Italian partisans who handed him over to

within of either crisis or critical reflection.

regular US soldiers. They interned him under

stone (...)

inhumane conditions for a long time in a

with usura, sin against nature,

You might well ask whether the topic of

cage designed for people condemned to

is thy bread ever more of stale rags

money, the financial order, currencies and

death. There he wrote the Pisan Cantos, for

is thy bread dry as paper,

financial justice is, or ever has been, a subject

which he received, much to the consternation

with no mountain wheat,

for literature at all. Before answering pre-

of the US Government, the Bollingen Prize

no strong flour (...)“

maturely, we should remember that there are

in 1949. In 1946 Ezra Pound was indicted for

(Ezra Pound, Canto XLV)

indeed relevant literary sources relating to

high treason and only escaped execution

this theme, but that they have long been

because an expert deemed him mentally ill.


As a result he spent 12 years in a state mental

“If a man isn’t willing to take some risk for his opinions, either his opinions are

institution in Washington D.C.

no good or he’s no good.” (Ezra Pound

In Western Europe especially, any critique

1945 upon his arrest by American soldiers)

of currency has been, for historically under-

Ezra Pound, for whose release authors such

standable but now long-outdated reasons,

as Hemingway campaigned, made no secret

There can be no doubt that the economy,

neutralised by the disgrace of historical anti-

of his now historically disproven views.

especially the financial order, is in global crisis;

Semitism. Yet, the recent earth-shaking

Pound professed to live life “in its totality of

agreement about this fact is also global. But

events demand a re-thinking of the means

highs and lows”. His monetary views were

there is a sharp disjunction – and this too

of exchange that we intend to use for our

derived neither from fascist ideologies nor

seems globally prevalent – between the

transactions. When it comes to searching for

from the anti-Semitism of the 20th century, but

thinking and reporting related to acute

genuine, sustainable alternatives, then our

rather found their origins in the early 1920s,

economic and financial issues, and the fields

thinking cannot become ideologically

or earlier; indeed, 400 years earlier when

of art and culture.


even the great Michelangelo had complained of the destructive influence of usury on the

Looking at the arts section of any Western

Among the forgotten figures who fielded a

newspaper and you could conclude that the

critique of currencies was the greatest

arts were really of tertiary importance. With

American poet of the 20th century, Ezra

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008

realisation of his art. Pound wrote of his Italian era: “I am not


writing Italian propaganda. I am writing for humanity, which is being eaten away by

Biographical notes on Ezra Pound

usury.” In his Addendum for C, he refutes an anti-Semitic critique of money. “The evil is usury [...] beyond race and against race [...],”

Ezra Weston Loomis Pound (born 30 October

he soon became a supporter of Mussolini.

he wrote in 1941, thereby overriding the

1885 in Hailey, Idaho; died November 1972

Pound remained in Italy when the Second

erroneous idea that doing business with and

in Venice) was an American poet of the

World War broke out, and began anti-

modernist movement.

American broadcasts on Radio Rome,

by means of usury is something connected with a group of people who can be ethnically or culturally defined. Pound’s rejection of the modern financial

motivated by his aversion for American and His magnum opus was The Cantos. He also

international capitalism, which he con-

founded the short-lived but influential

sidered responsible for the outbreak of the

Vorticism, and together with Wyndham Lewis


produced the radical journal Blast.

system was furthermore a result of his invol-

In 1945, in the wake of Italy’s invasion by

vement with the classical legacies of China

Pound studied comparative literature and

American troops, Pound was arrested (some

and the Occident, both of which knew only

Romance languages and literature at the

reports stated that he handed himself over),

too well the dangers of unfettered repro-

University of Pennsylvania and at Hamilton

and was held inhumanely in Pisa in a cage

duction of capital, – “usura” – in the poet’s

College in the state of New York between

specially constructed for those condemned

1900 and 1905.

to death.

In 1908 Pound set sail for Europe and arrived

It was during this time that he wrote the

words – and rightly sought to forbid it.2 The American poet also mentioned Muslim

in Venice, where he published his first

most famous section of his Cantos, the Pisan

history in his writings on money and mone-

collection of poems, A Lume Spento. From

Cantos, for which he was awarded the

tary justice:3

1909 to 1920 he lived with intermissions in

Bollingen Prize in 1949. He was indicted for

London, where he associated with the most

high treason on 26 July 1946 in the USA,

Malik & Edward struck coins-with-a-sword,

influential English-language writers of the

together with Frederick W. Kaltenbach, Robert

“Emir el Moumenin”

time, including James Joyce, Ford Madox Ford

Best, Jane Anderson, Douglas Chandler,

and Wyndham Lewis.

Edward Leo Delaney, Constance Drexel, and

six and 1/2 to one, or the sword

Max Otto Koischwitz. Pound only escaped

of the Prophet, Silver being in the hands of the people According to his biographer Eva Hesse, his

During World War I Pound worked as a private

judgment and a possible death penalty

secretary in Ireland to William Butler Yeats,

because an expert psychiatrist declared him

whom he admired greatly. In 1914 he married

mentally ill. He spent the next twelve years

the artist Dorothy Shakespeare.

in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, a state mental

interest in the issue of just currencies began

institution in Washington, D.C.

during his childhood, as the son of a gov-

He lived in Paris from 1920 to 1924, during

ernment coinage assayer. “In that context it

which time he became acquainted with the

He was released in 1958 following concert-

is easy to conceive of how much money meant

American violinist Olga Rudge, with whom

ed intervention by his supporters. He then

to him, or that is to say, the thing upon which

he and his wife were to live up until his

returned to Italy, living first in Brunnenburg

money was then based, which was gold,”


above Merano (South Tyrol), then later in

writes Hesse in her biography.4 Pound believed that the financial system was the key question of our time. Aside from his

Venice. In 1922, he edited T. S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land, which was, alongside Pound’s

In 1967, Pier Paolo Pasolini became closely

own Cantos, the most important lyrical work

involved in a documentary produced by RAI

of modernism in the English language.

and entitled Un'ora con Ezra Pound, in which

poetical works, he wrote about usury and the

the director and author expressed his admi-

belief that representative democracy had

Pound turned his back on Paris in 1924 and

ration for Pound and read his poetry in Italian

become influenced by the bankers. They, he

established himself in Rapallo, Italy, where





said, had succeeded in making governments pay interest to private banks on their own money. He had been preceded in this perception by others, notably the Mayor of New York, John Hylan. Ezra Pound was of the view that economic freedom was a precondition for the freedom of a country. In 1932, he gathered together his reflections on the techniques and politics of finance in his book, The ABC of Economics. As someone who revered the Founding Fathers – the likes of Jefferson and Paine – it unsettled him that the government in 1913 had relinquished its control on the USA’s creation of money. Instead it had to borrow money from the Federal Reserve and burden the public with taxes – in Pound’s eyes a clear violation of the Founding Fathers’ Constitution. He also

Ezra Pound together with Olga Rugde.

opposed the resolution to shift the authority to declare war from Congress to the

finance has not yet been brought into the

human species) dictates that we look for


current debate – whereas the works of Brecht

alternatives. It borders on hypocrisy to dif-

are performed at the opening of banks and

ferentiate between “good” and “bad” capi-

bank-sponsored cultural events.

talism, and this has been rightly criticised.

Taking from the work of Major C.H. Douglas,

Contrary to the mainstream debate being

with whom he became acquainted in 1918, Pound developed the insight that the capi-

Following the events and changes at the

carried on in Western media, the problem is

talist credit system, which he fought under

opening of this century, namely the War on

not the “greedy fat cats”, it is the way we

its older name of ‘usura’, was the greatest evil

Terror, we are now living through the second

transact our economy.

of the modern industrial society. Later he also

global and historical watershed. It is obvious

espoused the economic theories of the

that the dramatic collapse of the investment

anarchist Silvio Gesell, who had been Finance

and mortgage banks (and all the other

Minister to the Second Bavarian Soviet

bankruptcies) will have far more reaching

Republic of 1919.


Text By Sulaiman Wilms

effects on our world than attacks on skyscrapers. These bankruptcies are the sign

It is one of the ironies of history that the

of a tectonic shift. At the same time, much


greatest American poet of the 20 century had

of the world’s population is struggling with


to pay for his views with grinding incar-

food prices that have risen by an average of

ceration in a military prison and then a mental

45 per cent over 12 months. Aid organi-

institution, whereas the now-respected

sations are complaining of the difficulty of

German author and dramatist Bertolt Brecht

finding suitable markets in which to buy up

never had to answer during his lifetime for



his denial of the Bolshevik and Stalinist crimes.

Note by Ezra Pound: “Usury:A charge for the use of purchasing power, levied without regard to production; often without regard to the possibilities of production.”

2 As is found in the thinking of Aristotle, the Fathers of the Christian Church, and Goethe. 3

From Canto XCVII Ezra Pound Lesebuch, Eva Hesse ibid.

And although Pound still has a steady flock

In times like this, human reason (if not the


of adherents, his critique of the world of

sheer instinct to assure the survival of the


GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008




GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008


The French watchdog Reporters Sans


Frontieres (RSF), said in a report last month


that EU countries have been curtailing the rights of journalists to report freely on political issues. The report says the U.S. is now behind

Outgoing U.S. President George W. Bush has been

African countries such as Mali, Ghana and

unpopular in Europe, but his policies in fighting

Namibia in the world ranking of countries on respecting freedom of information. Some

the ‘war on terror’ have found many takers. The

European countries have been systematically

new European laws reducing civil rights range

harassing journalists, it says. “France has for

from introducing biometric control devices, such

the past two years held the European record for police and court interventions linked to the

as computerised passports and the digital

confidentiality of journalists’ sources, with

registration of fingerprints, to surveillance and

five searches, two preliminary indictments and four summonses.”

storage of all telephone and Internet traffic and transaction data, including bank operations.

The report condemned particularly the arrest of investigative journalist Guillaume Dasquié by the state intelligence agency Directorate

Daniel Finke and Thomas Koenig, professors

homeland security, we are facing the

for Territorial Surveillance (DST), and of Bruno

of politics at the University of Mannheim,

dismantling of traditional democratic

Thomas, a reporter for the motoring weekly

500 km south of Berlin, have found numer-


Auto Plus. Dasquié was detained by the DST

ous similarities between U.S. “homeland

in December 2007 after he published an

security” and European laws since 2001.“We

In a new book Der Terrorist als Gesetzgeber

intelligence report on Osama bin Laden and

do not want to attack all EU homeland

- Wie man mit Angst Politik Macht (The

Al-Qaeda in July in the Le Monde daily.

security policies, but we have found there is

Lawmaker as Terrorist, or How Politics

Dasquié was released after two days of

a law-making trend across Europe that

Foments Fear), Heribert Prantl, a former

questioning at the DST headquarters in Paris.

reduces civil liberties in exchange for more

district attorney in Munich, and now leading

collective security,” Koenig told IPS. Finke and

editorial commentator at the Sueddeutsche

Thomas was detained in July 2007, and is

Koenig studied Austria, Britain, Denmark,

Zeitung newspaper, says governments all

still under judicial investigation, after he

Germany and Sweden.

over the industrialised world have “sacrificed

published a report on a new model by French

civil rights at the altar of homeland security

automobile maker Renault that is not yet on

and the so-called war against terror.

the market. Auto Plus editor-in-chief Laurent

Finke and Koenig say the European trend of trading off civil freedoms against homeland

Chiapello said the matter was “blown out of

security goes against the rights of democratic

“Inspired by the notion of preventing terror,

proportion”, and that the journalist was

institutions such as parliaments. “Parliaments

which pervades U.S. foreign policy under

“simply doing his job, that is; finding new

are forced to ratify all government decisions

George W. Bush, the new anti-terror laws

information to better inform the reader.”

in this matter without questioning, and

consider every one of us a potential

These arrests were “accompanied by raids

without the right to discuss and eventually

terrorist,” told Prantl. “Until 2001, it was the

on their homes and offices…[showing] that

reject elements of the laws,” said Koenig.

other way around: if you did not give a reason

the confidentiality of sources is not always

This means, he added, that governments have

to be a suspect, you were left in peace. This

adequately protected in the ‘land of human

been turning off the democratic system of

was called the rule of law. Now laws are

rights’,” the RSF report adds. It says similar

check and balances. “On the question of

taking away our freedoms.”

practices affecting the confidentiality of




sources have been recently introduced in

Freedom of Internet activists are meanwhile

suspicion,” says Ralf Bendrath, civil rights

other European countries, such as Spain, Italy,

opposing the growing government control of

activist in Germany. “Who I call or write to,

and Germany. The French government’s mo-

online communication. They particularly

whether I use the Internet or not, my location,

ves were followed by an announcement in

criticise EU directive 2006/24/EC passed in

all this data is nobody’s business, least of all

May that a new law to protect the confiden-

March 2006 that provides for “the retention

the government’s.” Bendrath said that the

tiality of sources and judicial protection of

of data generated or processed in connection

recent cases of citizens’ fiscal, bank and other

journalists will be passed early next year.

with the provision of publicly available

personal data being lost in Britain, and the

electronic communications services or of

illegal commercialisation of the data bank of

public communications networks.”

the German telecommunication provider

In Germany, 17 journalists working for leading

Deutsche Telekom “show how easily the data

newspapers in Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt and

retention can lead to criminal abuses.”

Hamburg were prosecuted last year for

The EU directive compels all telecommuni-

“involvement in disclosing state secrets.”The

cations providers in the EU to retain for a

lawsuits were filed in August 2007 after the

period of between six months and two years

Several electronic storage devices containing

leaking of confidential material from a

all data necessary “to trace and identify the

fiscal and other data of several million

parliamentary commission investigating the

source of a communication ... the destina-

citizens have been lost or stolen in Britain

role of the state secret services in the ‘war

tion of a communication, the communi-

since 2006. In one case, the addresses, birth

on terror’. The German national journalists’

cation device [and] ... the location of mobile

dates, national insurance numbers and bank

association Deutscher Journalisten Verband

communication equipment.”

account details of every child benefit claimant in Britain went missing when two

says 180 lawsuits alleging ‘complicity in betraying state secrets’ have been brought

“The EU telecommunications data retention

compact discs were sent by unregistered

against reporters since 1986. By the end of

directive allows for the whole European

post in October 2007.

2007, all the investigations were dropped.

population to be observed, without any initial In Germany, Deutsche Telekom is involved in

A policemen checks the papers of a Muslim man in London.

several cases of misuse of electronic data banks. In one case, in 2006, the personal data of 17 million clients of the company’s cellular phone service was stolen and offered to other companies. The case was revealed by German media only in October 2008. Deutsche Telekom CEO René Obermann called this “an infuriating episode”, and announced the dismissal of four middle-ranking executives. In a similar case, personal data of some 30 million Deutsche Telekom clients was made available on the Internet. In yet another case, during 2005 and 2006 the company spied on more than 60 members of its own union and on journalists, trying to establish information leaks within the company. (IPS)

Text By Julio Godoy


| Issue 04 | December 2008

Image: AP Photo/David Guttenblatt


Text Shaykh Dr Abdalqadir as-Sufi

Hiroshima and Nagasaki - which ended World


War Two.The assumption of power was foun-


ded on three events. One: the settlement of the U.N.O. in New York. Two: The establishment of Israel through the instrument of the

Shaykh Dr Abdalqadir as-Sufi's analyses are among the

U.N.O. Three: The Bretton Woods Agreement

most important statements in the Islamic World, rela-

which defined the dollar-based capitalism

ting to the problems of our time. In numerous, success-

which collapsed in 2007 when the Bear Sterns Hedge Fund declared a bankruptcy which

ful publications, the author links a comprehensive

heralded the 2008 absolute failure of the

knowledge of European philosophy and history, with

Bretton Woods dual power-system of bank-

the timeless dimensions of Qur'anic revelation.

ing and democracy.The Empire lasted only 50 years. It began when the war-time leader General Eisenhower was elected President and

The first Empire with world hegemony was

the partition settlement carried on an

took office in 1952. It came to an end when,

the British Empire. The British Empire began

adulterous affair with the Hindu leader Nehru.

ignoring Eisenhower’s famous warning of the

when Disraeli persuaded Queen Victoria to

The disastrous and illegal partition cost the

military-industrial complex, Congress gave

claim India as Imperatrix. She was declared

lives of millions of Muslims. The populace

authority to the invasion if Iraq. The ‘free-

Empress in 1877. The Empire lasted precisely

was never consulted by ballot or referendum.

world’ project was over. It was 2002.

70 years.

It was 1947.

It came to an ignominious end under Viceroy

The second Empire with world hegemony was

The myth of al-Qaeda and the realities of terror

Lord Mountbatten, whose wife, daughter of

the American Empire. The American Empire

The political construct that posits a secret-

the notorious banker Sir Ernest Cassel, during

began following the nuclear devastation of

cell system of a militant Islam that is in




Schmitt-ian terms, ‘The Enemy’ suits lots of

Why trains in London and Madrid? No


people from President to Pope. Of course,

strategy, if such a militant approach could

2. Afghanistan and its wars of occupation.

with the help of TV media, and the new

offer success, could bring Islamic success any

3. The Indian sub-continent and its endemic

academic breed of ‘Experts’ – it is convincing

closer, no strategy such as the terrorists have

persecution of Muslims.

to the iPod masses. Intellectually, it does not

elected to perpetrate.

4. Palestine and its persecution by Israel.

Thirdly - who are they? There is a world-wide

Now the root of disorder in 1 and 4 goes

Firstly – its leadership. Bin Laden is scarcely

elite in the Muslim-world of Ulama’, scholars

back to the political reality from which they

convincing. As a son of a Saudi billionaire

and social activists. We know each other

came.The Uighur was a linked province to the

family, as a former C.I.A. operative, as

across schools and movements, rejoicing in

Osmanli Dawlet. Palestine was a linked and

someone who bought his way into Afghan

the variety and energy of our local approa-

protected province of that same Osmanli

society – he fails to take on the mantle of

ches. Nobody, neither modernist nor tradi-

Dawlet. 2 and 3 are the unified provinces of

Islamic leadership.

tionalist, had ever heard of those secretly

the Mughal Dawlet. The last legal frame of

appointed assassins drawn from the under-

India was dominated by the Mughal centres

As head of a secret society which drives

class of Arabs and Asians, ending with semi-

of a mighty civilisation based in Delhi, Lahore,

adolescent youths to suicide and stays hidden

idiots like the infamous and absurd shoe-

Shrinigar, Agra and Lucknow.

out of danger in the mountains he can be at



least recognised as a perfect copy of the

Since the exploitation of discontent – not to

Shi’a Ismaili leader who fought Salahud-din,

The realities of terror and their exponents do

remove the cause but to keep it down- is the

the Old Man of the Mountain with his gang

however point to zones of extreme injustice,

known policy of capitalism, deeper questions

of corrupted youths, the assassins (or

oppression and poverty.There is a point when

must be asked. To banish the conspiracy-


the sons of Adam turn against their degra-

theory of Al-Qaeda and its assassins we must

dation. When they strike it is, unsurprisingly,

ask the questions of real-politique.

As dead, which every tea-house in Peshawar


Who stands to gain?

knows, he is very interesting politically. It is the US leadership which ‘needs him’ alive. His

The four zones of inhuman and unaccounted

1. China.A ‘colonial’ conflict in East Turkestan

second-in-command only talks Marxist anti-

for savagery and oppression are:

and Tibet is an inexpensive but brilliant

US polemics. Never an ayat of Qur’an. Never a Salat-an-Nabei. Never a judgement of Fiqh.

diversion of the foreign attention from the 1. The Uighur nation and the evil Chinese

full-scale commercial and cultural invasion

In short ignorant of Islam. The inhuman situation of the Uighur Muslims is yet been unaccounted for.

Secondly – Its bizarre targets. If the World Trade Centre is a target because it represents world-market capitalism – as such it can be defined as an enemy stronghold, but, but, but! If you destroy it – you strengthen world capitalism, plus the insurance system of capitalism will more than double its value. Strengthen, because, as Ernst Jünger has demonstrated, destruction of capitalist entities by ‘The Enemy’ is necessary for its own survival. Why the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad? Why the Taj Hotel in Bombay?

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008


by China (the top three hotels of Cape Town no longer sell Indian tea at teatime, but china tea, timers, cups and pots!) 2. Darfur and Congo are now part of a military take-over with paid surrogate armies. 3. Palestine.Terrorism assures that the massive subsidy of the U.S. without which the Israeli State cannot survive, continues, a one-party (coalition) state since its inception! 4. Afghanistan. The last bastion of bankrupt U.S. global policy, it is needed as the southern base on Russian Asia’s network of oil and gas. It is under NATO command to avoid any accusation of torture and killing pointing to the U.S. NATO forces are above all state laws. 5. India/Pak/Bangladesch. The potential awakening of sub-continental wealth, firstly in its brilliant people, secondly in its communities, thirdly in its industries. Bollywood menaces Hollywood! If the U.S. is bankrupt, India is massively rich – when it breaks free of the dying dollar hegemony. The Bombay incident is a last futile attempt to halt Indian domination of the U.S. and its markets. It also assures that an Indo-Pak conflict – along with a continued matriarchy in Bangladesh – will allow a few years more before the completion of the Mexican takeover of a failed U.S.A. The constructive Islamic response to the horror of the Bombay siege should be the foundation of a pan-Indian Muslim union – uniting all Muslims of the sub – continent to take an oath of loyalty to fellow Muslims and a vow to refuse to fight fellow Muslims across the three countries.




folder. But, the fact is, it really is paradise, with


its rich green meadows, gigantic broad-leaved


trees, multicoloured lakes, fairytale gardens, a garland of white glaciers, graceful people and the beauty of its colourfully dressed

“It never ceases to amaze how the West’s


perception is almost as selective as that of a Yes, the paradise of revelations, as if God had

totalitarian state.”

not promised the righteous something heavenly but a place, already prepared, five

I have found a handful of places in the world

the ubiquitous tourist-droves, or the posters

thousand feet high, north of India, east of

which live up to all the praise heaped on

of dictators reminding one of the unfriendly

Persia, west of China, south of Russia – a

them, that justify the swarms of visitors and


place to inspire as many empires imaginable.

postcards, and deserve their own iconification.

But of course, in global politics, inspiration

Descriptions and images teeming in my vision,

Venice was like that for me, as was the Taj

and having devised reasons in advance to

Mahal, the sculptures of Bernini, and every

soften the inevitable disappointment, I arrived

visit to Shah Square in Isfahan – and Kashmir.

Since the 14th century, Kashmir has had foreign

at such places and was utterly enchanted

I must have heard it described a hundred

rulers who have conquered it, plundered it,

from the first moment, as if no one had ever

times as ‘Paradise on Earth’; in classical

and even sold it off. Following the withdrawal

seen such a miracle before me – indeed as if

Persian poetry, in old travel diaries, and in

of the British in 1947, most of the country,

I were the discoverer, despite the chatter of

almost a third of the articles in my press

despite its Muslim majority, fell to India, while

Indian army marching in the streets of the capital Srinagar.

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008

usually leads to war.


its west went to Pakistan and a strip in the north-east, went to China. At the United Nations, India promised a plebiscite in which the Kashmiris themselves would decide on their fate. That never happened, and instead there have been three wars with Pakistan. Delhi did grant the province far-reaching autonomy, but in 1989, after a series of obviously rigged regional elections, an armed rebellion broke out, which has since cost as many as one hundred thousand people their lives – and that in a region with a population of five million. The Indian army is said to be stationing about 600,000 soldiers in the province, most of them in the Kashmir valley, which is no larger than England’s North Yorkshire. Nowhere in the world is there anywhere near so heavy an armed presence as in Kashmir. Soldiers populate all the towns, all the villages, both main and secondary rural roads, the main streets, the alleyways, even tracks through the fields – no, even the fields themselves.To the Indians it’s a war against terrorism.To the population, it’s an occupation. When I travelled around Kashmir last autumn, the rebellion seemed to have exhausted itself. “Fed up” was the expression I heard most, fed up with the night searches, the identity checks, the roadblocks, the arrests, the rapes and the abductions – all of which, of the relevant human rights organisations have documented – fed up most of all with the despotism of these foreign soldiers, who, machine-guns loaded, seem to watch even the chicken coups.The Kashmiris still carry in their hearts the call for Azadi, or freedom, yet immeasurably more urgent is the appeal for peace. It did not surprise me, therefore, when the Indian government announced it had overcome the militant resistance.




Muslim students protesting for the independence of Kashmir.

Now, out of nothing and without political

number has since risen to 400,000, which, in

People flooded the streets at the funeral and

leaders having done much to bring it about,

the eyes of the Hindu nationalists, justifies

the days thereafter, 200,000 people each day,

a protest movement has arisen, which is as

their claim to Kashmir. Right or wrong, the

according to the authorities.A joke, said eye-

great as that of 1989. If it remains peaceful,

Muslims saw the land transfer as the start of

witnesses. More people have died, 42 since

notwithstanding the Muslim extremists,

a settlement policy like Palestine’s, aimed to

the beginning of the latest unrest. The

Pakistani agents and Indian provocateurs,

cast the Hindu presence in stone.

authorities have now imposed a strict curfew.

hundred militants do not present much of a

Within days the whole valley was in tumult.

Why do we hear so little about this uprising,

challenge to the world’s numerically largest

Strikes and demonstrations forced the

about the shots fired into the crowds, about

occupying force, but non-violent mass

authorities to revoke the land transfer. This

a people’s demands for freedom? Reports

movements certainly do. No nation knows

enraged the Hindu nationalists in Jammu so

pop up here and there, usually when scattered

that better than India.

much, that they blocked the only road

groups succeed in a rare attack.

then Kashmir will still stand a chance. A few

connecting the region to Kashmir, whereupon The protest was triggered by the granting of

a massive Kashmiri protest march moved

The only in-depth reporting is in Britain. It

a 100-acre piece of land to an Indian pilgrims’

towards the Pakistani border to demand the

never ceases to amaze how the West’s per-

organisation last June. In 1989, around 20,000

opening of the road to Muzaffarabad. When

ception is almost as selective as that of a

Hindus used to make the pilgrimage each

the Indian army opened fire, four people died,

totalitarian state. Russia is back in the

year to the Caves of Amarnath, but the

including separatist leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz.

West’s bad books, so too, therefore, are the

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008


Abkhazian separatists. How wonderful, I think

nothing but defending itself against Islamic

radicals, all of the political groupings in

to myself, that law can acquire global validity,


Kashmir had signalled their approval and

and how sobering to realise how quick we

declared the armed conflict over. Vajpayee’s

are to divide the world into good and bad.

Political blocks filter reality in this way,

successor, Singh, also expressed similar aims:

Iran has been deemed even worse than it

obviously. But it is because the free public

the borders were not to be lifted, but made

was, since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,

accepts this filtering that freedom is dying out

irrelevant. But since 2004, nothing has hap-

and its atomic programme is seen to be

in regions like Kashmir. Complicated the

pened; there have been no more negotiations

threatening world peace.

conflict may be, and the consequences may

and no peace conferences.With the new Indo-

be devastating for every minority, should the

American alliance, the external pressure on

India, on the other hand, having become

majority be allowed to determine the destiny

India to accept a compromise has dissipa-

“good” since September 11, is permitted to

of the multi-religious federal state. And yet

ted. Non-violent protest has become the

violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

the foundations of a possible peace have

Kashmiris’ only remaining means of exer-

– with the express sanction of an American

stood for years: autonomy with open borders

cising pressure from within.

agreement. And in Kashmir, India is doing

to the Pakistani area, regional self-adminis-

About the Author

tration in the three provinces, and withdrawal

When most of the separatist groups laid down

of the army.

their weapons, the tourists – or the Indian ones at least – began returning to the house-

Navid Kermani is a writer and orientalist

It was that which India’s Prime Minister

boats on the Dal Lake. Were lasting peace to

from Cologne, whose most recent

Vajpayee and Pakistan’s President Musharraf

come to the Valley, mass tourism would soon

proposed in the nineties in response to pres-

follow. And Kashmir’s magic would not

sure from the Clinton administration, which

disappoint. (First published with permission

had declared Kashmir the most dangerous

in Die Süddeutscher Zeitung on 02.09.08)

publication was the novel Kurzmitteilung (Ammann Verlag). He is currently residing in Rome on a scholarship from Villa Massimo. He is a member of the German government’s ‘Conference on Islam’.

conflict in the world because of India and Pakistan’s atomic weapons.Apart from a few

Text By Navid Kermani




Text By Rhomeez Hendricks

inconceivable. Black economic empowerment


is a goal we fully support and encourage, but


in our situation, state control of certain sectors of the economy is unavoidable”.

The expectations of the 1994 elections in South

That belief had formed the core doctrine of

Africa, aroused the idea that this moment

the ANC and was enshrined in a document

heralded a new begining. Not only was the country

known as The Freedom Charter.

rid of its past, but is was to embark on a journey

What the ANC wanted for the citizens of

towards freedom, wealth and riches. A decade

South Africa was a share in the wealth of a

after this momentous event, shanty towns were

minority who had amassed enormous sums in the richest country in Africa, containing,

transformed into shack cities and poverty gripped

among other treasures, the largest goldfield

the majority of South Africans.

in the world. The first defiant demand of the Freedom Charter reads: “The People Shall Govern!” (Naomi Klein; The Shock Doctrine)

Naomi Klein in her masterpiece The Shock

economic transformation of the South African

Doctrine writes: “In January 1990, Nelson

Apartheid state?”

The fact that the world capital markets are forty times larger than real trade is indicative

Mandela, while in prison wrote a note to some of his supporters who gathered outside

His answer was simple: “The nationalization

of the source of power in our society. Thabo

regarding a question as to whether he had

of the mines, banks and monopoly industries

Mbeki does not control the money, and while

become weak and tired after being locked up

is the policy of the ANC, and the change or

appointing Tito Mboweni as Governor of the

for twenty seven years in his long battle for

modification of our views in this regard is

Reserve Bank, he did not have the power to

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008


choose him. The private owners of the South

citizens, defined by the so-called national

call me a Thatcherite”. Thatcher and Reagan

African Reserve Bank did.

interest; instead it takes into account, and

are famous for breaking with the welfare-

realizes the interests of the dominant capital

state and instituting Neo-liberal reforms on

What is of concern here is power, the power

groups at the heart of the political-economy.

a large scale within their respective coun-

to, amongst other things; allow a country’s

This is where democracy has been a tremen-

tries. General Pinochet did the same.

leaders to realize their vision of peace and

dous success, and if the current stock market

prosperity. The dismal failure that charac-

is taken as a yardstick, then this political

Leaving the ownership of the gold fields in

terizes each and every politicians tenure in

system has a small group of winners, and

the same hands as those who held them

office, here in South Africa, demonstrates

many losers.

during Apartheid, Mbeki sought to realize his dream of a prosperous South Africa by

either utter incompetence, or an inability to do anything constructive, or both. The Neo-liberal agenda has as its goal;‘small-

Thabo Mbeki embraced neo-liberalism

creating favourable conditions for inter-

without a whiff of shame. Indeed, in 1996 he

national investors, which included taking on

told a group of businessmen in London, “Just

the Apartheid regime debt load so as to

government’, the state ‘open for business’, privatization and loose capital controls. Neoliberal globalization was unfortunately

Machinery used in the production of Gold, the great wealth ressource of South Africa.

threatened by the policies outlined in the ANC Freedom Charter and thus had to be revised before things could move ahead. State ownership of the means of production, minerals and strategic commodities would not only result in the denial of ownership to international investors, but also the denial of the ability of international cartels to fix prices on key commodities. Gold is the key to understanding the failure of democracy. It is not that South Africa failed democracy – Thabo Mbeki was after all the capitalist’s best friend – but rather democracy that has failed South Africa. The transfer of ownership of wealth and land lies at the heart of any transfer of power.The state, while claiming to represent the needs and interests of the masses, has failed to take ownership and redistribution of these strategic commodities, without which it is highly unlikely whether the levels of education and health envisioned by each incumbent could ever be achieved. On the other hand, historically democratic states have failed to maintain the welfare of its




GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008

Image: Yaseer Booley (2008)


appease the IMF and World Bank, without

tiated – most notoriously those of the

property. Job creation was constrained by the

which loans could not be secured, such as the

Oppenheimers. The outcomes of these

signing on to the General Agreement on Trade

$46 million loan in 1997 for industrial

meetings were that the ANC could have the

and Tariffs, precursor to the World Trade



political power but the gold and diamonds

Organization, which made the subsidization

Nationalizing the mineral wealth would cause

would remain in the hands of the individu-

of auto plant and textile factories illegal. Free

the ANC government to be labelled ‘leftist’,

als that controlled them before.

Aids drugs violated the intellectual property



rights commitment under the WTO. Money

anti-business, and South Africa as being an unstable investment destination. Capital flight

One of the most revealing aspects of the

that could potentially be used to rebuild

would have ensued and this country could

economic transition, was the ownership of the

schools and medical facilities and develop

have descended into a similar situation as

Reserve Bank of South Africa. Arguably the

affordable housing was diverted to repay

Zimbabwe is in today – the result of anti-

most powerful institution in the country, its

Apartheid Era debt. Even services like water

capital political decisions.

fate was explained by Durban businessman

and electricity have been privatized, regularly

Vishnu Padaychee, who was asked to draft

resulting in cut-offs as the poor cannot afford

There is reliable evidence that the state of the

a document for the negotiating team on the

the cost.

nation is worse for most people today than

on the pro’s and con’s of having an

it was during Apartheid. One must remember

autonomous central bank, one with total

To impose currency controls to guard against

that the Apartheid regime was democratic –

autonomy from the elected government.

speculation and value fluctuations would

exclusive but democratic. By comparison,

Padayachee could not believe what he was

violate the conditions attached to an 850

today we have an inclusive political culture

hearing. He and his team drafted and

million US-dollar IMF deal signed just before

yet the poor are poorer and the rich are richer.

submitted the document with the clear policy

the 1994 elections.This IMF deal also includes

of not allowing the Reserve Bank to be

“wage restraint” in order to allow for a

Democracy has not remotely achieved the

autonomous. He was later told by the

“flexible labour pool”.

fiscal objectives outlined in the Freedom

negotiating team, “We had to give that one



William Gumede, author of the exposé Thabo Mbeki and the battle for the soul of the

“In the early 1990’s. talks emerged between

Not only would the Reserve Bank be run as

ANC, has said that the reason why the

the ANC and the then National Party. To its

an autonomous entity within the South

grassroots populace allowed these develop-

credit, the ANC did negotiate a peaceful

African state, its independence enshrined in

ments to take place was that “everyone was

handover but did not manage to prevent

the SA constitution, but it would be headed

watching the political negotiations, and if

South Africa's apartheid-era rulers from

by the same man who ran it under Apartheid,

people felt it wasn’t going well there would

wreaking havoc on their way out. The

Chris Stals. Another Apartheid era figure,

be mass protest. But when the economic

negotiations focused on two aspects: one

finance minister Derek Keyes, also retained

negotiators would report back, people

was political, the other economic. The atten-

his position in the new administration. The

thought it was technical; no one was

tion, naturally, focused on the high-profile

New York Times praised Keyes as “the

interested. We missed it! We missed the

political summits between Nelson Mandela

country’s ranking apostle of low-spending,

whole story”.

and F. W. de Klerk, leader of the National

business-friendly government”. He explained that South Africa appeared to

Party.” (Naomi Klein; The Shock Doctrine) Padayachee lamented that with the loss of the

be on the brink of a civil war during this time

The infamous economy-focused meetings

Reserve Bank, “everything would be lost in

and that all focus was on the unfolding

between the old ANC elite and the corporate

terms of economic transformation”. The

political situation and that most people

establishment prior to 1994 – and after, are

Freedom Charter pledges’ to redistribute land;

naively assumed that no matter what

testimony to the real source of power. Here

became highly constrained, with a new clause

compromises had to be made to get into

the interests of big business were nego-

in the constitution protecting all private

power, they could be unmade once the ANC




was firmly in charge. “We were going to be

As mentioned earlier, under the leadership of

the Freedom Charter becoming policy, the

the government we could fix it later”, he

Mbeki, the ANC pursued a policy of attracting

market responded with a shock, sending the


Foreign Direct Investment, which would create

Rand into free fall. Gumede writes in his book

new wealth, the benefits of which would

that shortly after his release from prison,

The ANC initially tried to fulfil its pledges, it

‘trickle down to the poor’, as the saying goes.

Mandela spoke out in favour of nationa-

did build more than 100 000 homes in the

The ANC had to make sure that the country

lization at a private lunch with leading busi-

first two years and millions were hooked up

was attractive to foreign investors. This

nessmen the “All-Gold index plunged 5%”.

with electricity and water. But after 10 years

proved difficult as the State had to first be

Mandela acknowledged this reality at the

of democracy, under Neo-liberal duress and

subjected to, what William Gumede called,

ANC national conference in 1997 when he

bankruptcy, privatization of government

the “electronic herd” of global capital.

said, “The very mobility of capital and the

services ensued, resulting in millions of people

globalization of capital and other markets,

cut off from newly connected water and

Following the release of Mandela, the SA

make it impossible for countries, for instance,

electricity because they could not pay.

stock market collapsed, and the Rand drop-

to decide national economic policy without

ped by 10 per cent. A few weeks later, De

regard to the likely response of these

According to a June 2003 edition of the

Beers moved its headquarters to Switzerland.

markets”.Thabo Mbeki understood this game

Sunday Independent, up to 40 per cent of the

This “electronic herd” was a call-and-response

and, from the early days, gave assurances to

new phone lines were no longer in service.

shock dialogue between the ANC leadership

the corporate elite as to ANC policy. Gumede

According to a 2006 study, life expectancy in

and the financial markets.When an ANC offi-

writes that “shortly before the 1994 elections,

South Africa had dropped by 13 years.

cial dared to utter something that hinted at

the ANC submitted their economic program

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008


No opposition to the Neo-liberalist ideology. Nelson Mandela and the former chief of the Worldbank, Paul Wolfowitz.

to Oppenheimer for approval and made

to raise just under $4 billion and that half

more than doubled, from 23 per cent to 48

several key revisions to address his concerns,

that money went to servicing the inherited

per cent. The ANC government has built 1.8

as well as those of other top industrialists”.

debt. He writes that not only did the ANC

million homes, but in the meantime 2 million

renege on “the nationalization of mines,

people have lost their homes.

In 1996, Mbeki unveiled his new economic

banks and monopoly industry” but they

plan for the country, it called for more -

actually sold off state assets to pay the debt

Close to 1 million people were evicted from

privatisation, cutbacks to government spen-

of the previous regime.

farms in the first decade of democracy. Such evictions have meant that the number of

ding, labour ‘flexibility’, freer trade and looser controls on money flows. According

This county has seen an influx of FDI and is

shack dwellers has grown by 50 per cent. In

to economist Stephen Gelb, who helped draft

relatively competitive, yet this has not resulted

2006, more than one in four South Africans

the plan, its overriding aim “was to signal

in the masses of poor being lifted out of the

lived in shacks located in informal shanty-

to potential investors the government’s

squalor in which they live.According to South

towns, many without running water or

commitment to the prevailing (Neo-liberal)

African government statistics, the poorest 50



per cent of South Africans have seen their income drop by 20 per cent. Since 1994, the

Talk delivered at the 11th International Fiqh Conference Cape Town, South Africa.

In the first years of democracy, the South

year the ANC took power, the number of

African government serviced the Apartheid

people living on less than 1 US-dollar a day

Era debt to the tune of $4.5 billion annually.

has doubled, from 2 million to 4 million in

Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine

Gumede notes that between 1997 and 2004

2006. Between 1991 and 2002, the un-

William Gumede: Thabo Mbeki and the battle

the government sold off 8 state-owned farms

employment rate for black South Africans

for the soul of the ANC





areas who had become more affluent moved


away into districts populated in the majority


by indigenous people. Even so, why is it that so many other immigrants remain in their ethnic colonies, which to outsiders look so

European cities are – like in many other parts of

unappealing, even when they could afford to

the world – subjected to a massive loss of social

live in other areas? Often it is precisely those

cohesion and a growing gap between poorer and

ethnic infrastructures and social networks that have developed which assure them a

more affluent communities. As the German city

better standard of living. Not that the

of Duisburg demonstrates, this is a good oppor-

infrastructure should necessarily be called

tunity for the Muslims of Europe to step forward

“Islamic”; rather perhaps “ethnic/Muslim”, be it Turkish as in Germany, North African as

and show their positive potential to the broader

in France and Belgium, or Pakistani as in the

public. They just have to take the initiative.

United Kingdom. In districts struggling under an ageing

Germany’s largest mosque was opened

suburbs. What can be said though is that

populace, social decline and the drifting-away

recently in Duisburg, an old industrial city in

cities are becoming noticeably more segre-

of the old-established population, it can

the west of Germany, formerly best known for

gated along ethnic, social and economic lines.

sometimes seem that the immigrants them-

its steel. The mosque belongs to DITIB, an

There are also more and more areas in which

selves, most of whom are Muslim, are what

organisation connected to Turkey’s Ministry

immigrants, especially Muslims, not only

keep the otherwise dying districts alive. But

of Religion. It is not situated in the city centre

constitute a statistical majority, but also play

the problem with ethnic concentration is that

or in a central, visible place, but rather to be

a growing role in providing an economic and

they can become set in their modest ways,

found in the outlying suburb of Marxloh, an

social infrastructure from which the non-

and so become impervious to social growth

blue collar district with a high proportion of

Muslim population can also benefit.

and contact with other ethnic groups.

Duisburg-Marxloh has drawn widespread

The concentration of immigrant and, or

In this context, it means that Muslims of a

admiration, not on account of its size but

Muslims has long been the subject of heat-

particular ethnicity keep to themselves

because its construction, which unlike many

ed debate. Some sociologists argued that

because of their cultural infrastructure, and

other mosque projects, was relatively free of

segregation of this kind can have positive as

have too little contact with the majority of


well as negative effects. The social networks

society and other ethnic groups. A

it encourages can provide immigrants with

consequence of this is that the majority –

What effects could such a large mosque have

security, identity and self-confidence, they

non-muslim – population then often comes

on the image of Muslims in the society, and

say, that can help them get used to the new

to view Islam in Germany as a mainly oriental,

what are the potentially positive contribu-

society. Common needs can also be ad-

cultural affair which has nothing to do with

tions that can come from the Muslim-major-

dressed mutually. What is generally agreed

them. Another consequence is that many

ity districts of European cities, often referred

on, however, is that this should not become

Muslim communities remain ethnically

to – wrongly – as ghettos? European cities


divided. Only over the past ten years have

Muslim immigrants. The new mosque in

vary however.





There has been a counter-tendency – in

generations, showing a greater openness

Take France’s banlieues for example.They are

Germany it was especially pronounced in the

towards majority peoples and Muslims of

not really anything like Germany’s immigrant

early 1990s – in which residents of immigrant

other ethnic origin.

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008


In Germany, the services offered by the

as language courses, sports clubs and so on,

diversity and self-organisation was officially

Muslim population are generally well

aimed especially at members of their own

recognised and promoted, with little pressure

received by the locals. This has long been

associations, but they fall well short of the

to integrate, which is why ethnic segregation

the case with restaurants and food stores

classical function of the Osmanli ‘Külliye’,

and the independent existence of groups is

but nowadays, many people also call on

which included a soup kitchen, healthcare

more pronounced there than elsewhere.

Muslim doctors, mechanics and building com-

and similar social welfare services directed at

Some years ago, the state began to realise

panies, to name but a few examples.

the general populace including non-Muslims.

that this policy was creating more segre-

However, when it comes to the mosques and

Nor have economic services emerged such as

gation than was desirable, and they launched

the Muslims’ charitable services in general,

the setting-up of open, free markets.

a new initiative called “community cohe-

things still tend to look sparse, despite the

sion”, a bottom-up approach in which the

fact that mosques can play an important

Clearly it has not yet been realised that these

different segments of the populace establish

social role. “The communities [mosque

kinds of facilities can be useful to the public

contact in order to get to know another

communities] function as a link, not only

in general if they are properly established

better. It aims to strengthen a sense of

between religious and ethnic groups, but also

and properly presented. Having said that,

togetherness and create equal opportunities

between citizens and administration, so they

mosque associations have become more open

for all, while continuing to acknowledge

contribute towards the running of the society

to the outside world, especially since the


as a whole,” wrote Gerdien Jonker and

1990s. There are ‘open days’ and contacts

Andreas Kapphan in a study of mosques in

have been established with other social insti-

Architect and town planner Mahmud

Berlin in 1999. This accounts for why

tutions, and some mosques run initiatives to

Manning, has written a dissertation about

countries like Sweden and the Netherlands

combat drugs and criminality.

the city of Bradford, one of the cities with the

support some mosques financially and the building up of local infrastructure.

highest proportion of ethnic minorities in Looking at the United Kingdom, the signs

Britain. Bradford is often considered Britain’s

are that minorities will become majorities in

test case for any issues relating to the Muslim

A tendency does exist for mosques to assume

many cities over the next ten to twenty years


more of a church-like role; in Germany this

– and similar changes can be seen in other

can be said of some of the large Turkish

European countries. In Britain, however,

“Friday prayers are always full to

organisations. They may offer services such

unlike France or Germany, social and ethnic

overflowing, high street trade is vibrant,

The former workers’ quarter Duisburg-Marxloh is in dire need of new ideas.




dynamic and a refreshing counter-point to

different light, not just a negative one any

and other academically qualified profession-

‘official’ city mall shopping centres. An

more; the mosque has upgraded Marxloh’s

als, who in turn create other jobs and

overlooked asset by local government.As city

image.” Ceylan also likes the fact that the

represent a real economic factor, reports Dr

centres have imploded, only shored up by

mosque combines different functions.As well

Rauf Ceylan. Turkish people now own many

regeneration injections – Leeds, Manchester,

as the prayer room there are “seminar rooms,

shops and businesses in the centre of Duisburg

Newcastle – the Muslim population finds

a bistro, a kitchen and a meeting place where

as well, even if you cannot tell from the

itself in an interesting position. Take them

events can be held.” The mosque, he says, is

outside, and they provide jobs for members

out of Bradford and the city collapses,” claims

already collaborating with other local play-

of the majority population. Many first-

Mahmud Manning.

ers and the local authorities, and has applied

generation immigrants choose Marxloh

for funding for a range of activities.

consciously, and some have purchased prop-

Case study: Marxloh, Duisburg

erty, which means that many of the second

In the weeks since its opening, many non-

Ceylan cites the ethnic economy as another

generation also remain there. There are of

Muslims, individuals and groups, have visited

of Marxloh’s plus-points. One industry which

course social climbers who move away from

the new mosque to see it for themselves and

is flourishing is wedding clothing, for which

the area.“Then again, there are also members

find out more; there is considerable interest.

customers come from all over Germany and

of the indigenous German population who

even the Netherlands and Belgium.Although

choose to live in Marxloh because they favour

In 2006, Duisburg-based social scientist Dr

Marxloh used to be a workers’ district it

a multicultural lifestyle – students and

Rauf Ceylan published an acclaimed paper on

slumped to become a zone of high unem-

academics, for instance.”There are no visible

‘ethnic colonies’ using a similar district as an

ploymment (around 20 per cent), especially

conflicts in living together, he says, day-to-day

example. He considers the new mosque to be

among the youth, which is definitely a major

living is harmonious and there are no un-

well placed, because, he says, mosques have

problem. But, Ceylan claims, the immigrant

crossable borders between the ethnic groups.

to be built in places where Muslims live, they

population – and especially the Muslims –

Marxloh has an institutional Round Table

have to be near and easy to get to. “The

represent considerable social capital. “Immi-

which citizens can participate in.

building of the mosque has had many good

grants have the space here to express them-

effects, even before it was finished,” believes

selves culturally and socially in a way other

“Migration always means social, cultural but

Ceylan. “The area is now cast in a completely

areas of the city do not allow.” The problems

also economic renewal,” says the social

of districts like Marxloh, he says, are caused

scientist. “Immigrants have not only helped

not by the presence of immigrants, but by

to halt the process of decay in these districts,

factors like high unemployment levels and a

they have breathed new life into them. And

poorer quality of schooling.

since more than 35 per cent of the people of Duisburg are from an immigrant background,

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008

In this part of town, around 60 per cent of

this will at some point apply to the city as a

the population come from an immigrant

whole.” The importance of the mosque, says

background. Inhabitants of Turkish origin

Ceylan, has not been appreciated by German

command most of the infrastructure, which

politicians, who often stigmatise mosques as

in turn attracts Turkish residents from other

objects of scandal. But in reality they are

parts of the city.“Immigrant entrepreneurs are

social centres offering a range of activities

often very willing to take risks but have

which have brought forth a young and largely

insufficient business sense, which is why there

well-educated generation of people. The

is a high level of fluctuation among

historical division of Turkish Muslims into

enterprises.” In addition to the typical,

different groupings, and in turn their

traditional ethnic businesses there are an

segregation from non-Turkish Muslims, which

increasing number of Muslim lawyers, doctors

Ceylan and others criticise along with all


ethnic division amongst the Muslims of Germany, is expected to disappear gradually as this new generation develops. According to Rauf Ceylan, conditions in the ethnic districts of German cities are nothing like those of France’s banlieues. The standard of living in the German areas is much better, the problems less pressing. “We don’t have ghettos in Germany. An American journalist who visited Marxloh with me was astonished when I told him people call this part of Duisburg a ghetto. He said that if he were to live in Duisburg he would live there, because it was less boring than other parts of town, more colourful and lively.” Poverty may be considerable, but you do not see homeless Turks because their families take them in. “This social capital is very important and is often undervalued. People help each other. That helps to alleviate and absorb poverty,” says the sociologist. “The Iftar Tents that we know from Islamic tradition should be opened up to everyone again, rather than becoming meeting points for cronies as they are now,” suggests Dr Rauf Ceylan. Other things, such as a soup kitchen and free homework tutoring, also available to non-Muslims, could be part of a service offered to the wider community, with the funds coming from Zakat and charitable donations. The collapse of urban culture and social cohesion, in Europe, brings with it many opportunities for Muslim minorities. Indeed there are already many ways in which they can contribute positively to society. Yet this will require a change in consciousness, something which is only just beginning to make itself felt.

Text By Yasin Alder




ment. Examining monarchy, aristocracy and


democracy, Polybios concluded that every


type of government at some point collapses. But while modes of government come and go and are subject to a necessary process of

Political theorists have been discussing the

inner change, the political questions behind

foundations of politics ever since Plato. For

the great organisational forms have remained

centuries on end, the idea of rule defined purely

the same since the time of the great Greek philosophers.

in human terms was inconceivable. Humans strive and plan, but are also always the victims or beneficiaries of unforeseeable Higher Forces.

Political theorists have been discussing the foundations of politics ever since Plato (428348 BC): the relationship to power, the techniques of exercising power, and the taut relationship between politics and econom-

“Well, I said, and in oligarchical States

Political concepts are not only flexible, they

ics. And, of course, thinkers have always

do you not find paupers?

are subject to changing times.While in Roman

reflected on the effects of what has been

Yes, he said; nearly everybody is a pauper

exile, the Greek thinker Polybios (200-120

called “fate” or “fortune” on human efforts

who is not a ruler.”

BC) developed the famous theory of

to establish an order. For centuries on end,

(Plato, Politea, 552d)

Anacyclosis on the cyclical nature of govern-

the idea of a rule defined purely in human

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008


terms was inconceivable. Humans strive and

freedom, and the effects on the broader

to re-structure laws and modes of governance

plan, but are also always the victims or

community, are devastating. Even though

to serve their own purposes. Regardless of

beneficiaries of unforeseeable Higher Forces.

some of the big banks could not survive

their background; religious or not; the

without tax funding, they remain in private

oligarchs will undermine traditional law to

Old fundamental questions about just rule

ownership. It is impossible to overlook the

their own advantage.

always re-emerge during times of crisis. Every

new oligarchic structures emerging under

age has its own challenges.Today, more than

current political conditions.

Money and the acquisition of money will in future determine the “oligarchic” constitution

two thousand years after Plato, those challenges once again revolve primarily

Since the American elections, the Fed has

of the individual. What Plato was especially

around the relationship between politics and

been lending money in secret and outside of

afraid of was that the political unity of the

the economy. During the recent American

any political control, far in excess of the rescue

community would be broken.What we would

elections, the independence of politicians was

packages publicised for financial institutions,

now call a parallel society would necessarily

once again called into question. What does

and other companies in difficulty. In one week

emerge:“The inevitable division: such a State

it mean for democracy when corporations of

in November, according to the Washington

is not one, but two States, the one of poor,

ever-increasing power finance parties and

Post, $507 billion went to banks, $50 billion

the other of rich men; and they are living on

their candidates as well as control media

to investment companies, $70 billion to invest-

the same spot and always conspiring against


ment funds and $266 billion to companies

one another.” (551d).

holding short-term loans. Humanity is currently experiencing the worst

In the wake of the madness of modern

financial crisis since the beginning of the last

In his renowned Politea – a title translated

ideologies, the 20th century has undoubtedly

century. A kind of “economic state of emer-

somewhat uncomfortably as ‘The Republic’ –

seen a tectonic shift in power from the

gency”, it is one in which the true balance of

Plato defines oligarchy as “A government

political to the economic sphere. Modern

power is revealed. In the shortest of times,

resting on a valuation of property, in which


gigantic amounts of money have been raised

the rich have power and the poor man is

mechanisms to prevent ideologues from

to rescue collapsing banks the world over.

deprived of it.” (Politea 550d) To Plato, the

coming to power – the notorious coup d’état

power of money and wealth contains a logical

– while at the same time ignoring the

The political problem is especially pronounced

threat which in the long term is destructive:

possibility of a silent “Coup de Banque”.

in America. People working on Wall Street for

“And in proportion as riches and rich men are

Capital grows faster and faster, becomes

financial, insurance and property corporations,

honoured in the State, virtue and the virtuous

globally networked, and dominates national

along with those companies’ political action

are dishonoured.” (551a).

political parties as well as public opinion.

the campaigns of Senators Obama and

The consequent spiritual detrition is as

The political actors of the post-modern state

McCain. It is therefore not particularly

dynamic as it is irreversible: “And so at last,

are politicians, or more accurately party-

surprising that both candidates supported

instead of loving contention and glory, men

politicians, who, within the process of

the campaign to rescue Wall Street.

become lovers of trade and money; they

globalisation, fight in vain against the global



committees, invested millions of dollars in

honour and look up to the rich man, and

fortification of oligarchic structures. The

Since 2002, Wall Street has donated more

make a ruler of him, and dishonour the poor

foundational political question between

than 1.1 billion dollars to Congressional


economic and political power is clear: who is

candidates. Nine out of the ten biggest

actually governing whom?

recipients of this Wall Street generosity – each

Plato proceeds to sketch what we now realise,

of whom received an average of 1.5 million

in light of today’s financial crisis, is the

In his classic 1911 work on political parties,

– are members of financial supervisory and

timeless threat: that the oligarchs and their

Robert Michels demonstrated what he called

tax committees.The consequences for political

structures will utilise their growing influence

the “iron law of oligarchy”. Michels showed




how every organisation inevitably brings forth a leadership without exercising effective, long-term control over it. Today, almost 100 years later, which technical debates abound, which the majority of the population cannot possibly understand, this phenomenon has become only more pronounced. The need for full-time functionaries, the extent to which the party leadership knows more than others, and the inexorable specialisation of the political process – are all solidifying the party apparatus. How can we defend ourselves against these tendencies? The great Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun saw only one way of stopping political nihilism. He did not believe in linear models of progress, but instead, in the natural ascent and decline of each and every political order.The quality and the unity of every order, said Khaldun, depends solely on its capacity for transcendence. “Only by Allah’s help in establishing His deen (or way of life),” he wrote in his famous Muqaddimah, “do individual desires come together in agreement to press their claims, and hearts become united […] The secret of this is that when hearts succumb to false desires and are inclined towards the world, mutual envy and widespread differences arise. But when they are turned towards the truth and reject the world and whatever is false, and advance toward Allah, they become one in their outlook. Envy disappears. Mutual cooperation and support flourish.” (The Muqaddimah, 319-20). In modern political discourse, especially in the West, Ibn Khaldun is seen first and foremost as a romantic figure or perhaps the founder of sociology. The Scottish author Ian Dallas

GLOBALIA | Issue 04 | December 2008


contests that view, as well as the dicho-

quintessential core of the dying entity (the

saw no political solution, advocating

tomisation of “medieval” and “modern” in

bourgeois epoch).” (ToB p. 273)

instead Gelassenheit, an inner distancing

general. In his masterpiece The Time of the

from the power of technology. But Ian

Bedouin, he brilliantly links Ibn Khaldun to

New elites appear in the form of sects and

Dallas points to Ibn Khaldun, a political

Ernst Jünger, and the end of European philo-

dominate the state as the political ur-model,

thinker he considers groundbreaking: “It

sophy from the perspective of first Muslim

where monarchy is abolished, along with its

requires a young intellect to grasp Ibn

community in Madinah. In Dr Dallas’ work,

inner unity of political decision and military

Khaldun – not his ideas, but his mode of

European history devolves on a transfer of

responsibility. Dr Dallas demonstrates that

thinking.” (ToB p. 278)

power; the foundational political form,

a shift of power took place which far from

monarchy, replaced by structurally networked,

empowering the populace as professed,

As with the thinking of Plato, Dr Dallas does

oligarchic elites.

empowered instead what Hilaire Belloc calls

not consider man to be a detached observer,

the “Money Power”; the finance-commo-

rather an integral part of the political model.

Neither does Ian Dallas believe in the linear

dities elite. The diffuse forces of politics,

If man wishes to win back his freedom, he

progression of political models. The French

economics and the Military-Industrial

must change himself and re-discover his

Revolution – with which, after all, the Modern

Complex may serve a whole range of

meaning as part of a tremendous creational

Era begins – he sees marks the birth of

puposes, just not the objectives of the old


democracy but also state terror, both two

nations. Dr Dallas’ Bedouin is not dissimilar to Ernst

sides of the same coin.According to Ian Dallas, Revolution has Terror built into it, and

The limiting of political sovereignty by the

Jünger’s Waldgänger. Neither anarchist nor

“Terrorism is not and cannot be perceived as

power of financial technique made the

revolutionary, he is however a crosser of

the destructive force of an evil other. It is not

German philosopher Martin Heidegger

boundaries who seeks and upholds his own

even a Janus-head of one monster. It is the

sigh, “Only a God can save us.” Heidegger

freedom. The Bedouin understands that his highest possibility lies not in individualism but in actions performed together with others. Ibn Khaldun calls this transformative energy “Asabiyya”. Ian Dallas writes: “The true Asabiyya as understood by Ibn Khaldun is of higher spiritual brotherhood, which is always, in its great phase, invincible.” (ToB, p. 278) Dallas explains that to Ibn Khaldun,Asabiyya has a declared aim which is not only of political character but also a visibly economic one: “Ibn Khaldun marks the point at which Asabiyya installs Monarchy as being that point when the King adopts a natural currency based on gold and silver.” (ToB p. 290). Consequently, it is only a Divinely inspired monarchy which is in a position to stem the oligarchic tendency and the erosion of law, and to give back to man his political sovereignty.

Platos’ collected works (Geman edition).

The Time of the Bedouin by Dr Ian Dallas.

Text By Abu Bakr Rieger



Globalia Magazine 4th edition  

Globalia Magazine 4th edition

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