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German ‘Conservatives’ Find Common Ground with Sharia-Compliant Economics

In a series of seminars sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, participants examined the “shared values” of Germany’s “social market economy” and “Islamic economics.”

by
John Rosenthal

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December 2, 2010 - 12:00 am
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Frank Spengler, a representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, added:

It is notable that both economic systems have deep roots in the respective religions: Islamic economic thought is based on the Sharia, whereas the social market economy builds on Christian social doctrine.

The Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development was represented at the event by its Director General Fahad Saeed Al-Raqbani. According to the summary of the proceedings, Haibach, Spengler, and Al-Raqbani all agreed that such a “value-based economic system” is “not only more sustainable and more suited to human needs, but could alleviate the consequences of future crises or even prevent them altogether.”

The Berlin event featured a presentation by Zaid el-Mogaddedi, the managing director of the Institute for Islamic Banking and Finance in Frankfurt. According to a summary of his presentation, el-Mogaddedi explained that:

The entire activity of a practicing Muslim, including economic activity, is based in his faith. From this there follows a responsibility before God, which is expressed in various principles of action. Financial transactions that are detrimental to human beings, as well as highly speculative risks, are rejected in Islam.

El-Mogaddedi explained further that the “prohibition on financial interest is one of the central pillars of Islamic banking” and that:

Financial investments in certain goods like alcohol or in the armaments industry are not wanted. The compliance of investments with the relevant norms is examined by ethics commissions, so-called Sharia boards, and then they are approved or rejected. If the tenets of Islamic banking had a wider application, the financial crisis could have been prevented….

The latter point is enthusiastically seconded by Rainer Hermann, who notes that a real estate bubble, such as formed on the U.S. housing market, would have been “impossible” in a system of “Islamic banking.” The correspondent of Germany’s leading “conservative” daily concludes that the German and “Islamic” models are:

…more than pure economic models. By virtue of their “social” components, they are also models of society, which are strongly oriented toward solidarity and the social anchoring of property. In both cases, they do not leave everything to the market, but rather intervene when a sense of justice makes this desirable. This is no different in the Islamic economy than in the social market economy of German inspiration.

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John Rosenthal writes on European politics and transatlantic security issues. You can follow his work at www.trans-int.com or on Facebook here.
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