Wednesday, July 27, 2011

“Christian” Extremist Jihad

Post 33--:

We’re in Sharia Banking country at the moment, but this needs to be interrupted by the  recent shocking violence in the paradise of peace known as Norway.  Since Christians along with the entire West are always blaming Muslims and Islam for terrorism, it is necessary that I as a Christian blogger address this “Christian” attack.

Reasons for Breivik's Terror
I don’t intend to rehash the event itself as it happened and subsequently unfolded.  That’s what the media are for. But I do want to comment on some of the things I read and heard.  As always, various reasons and causes for this event have been offered.  No doubt many of them have elements of truth to them. All of them will have contributed in some way and to some extent.  There is, of course, the ubiquitous Marxist economic explanation: It was due to economic conditions, these conditions then seen as encompassing almost everything else.  Probably there was an economic element to it, but certainly not that Breivik himself is poor.  You don’t lease a farm and, on that basis, buy enough chemicals to prepare for this attack, if you don’t have access to raw cash.  Neither can it be attributed to lack of education, not when he wrote a document of some 1500 pages.  Not even most highly educated people could manage that.  

European Restlessness
I tend to give more credence to the role of restlessness that has developed in Western Europe with respect to immigration issues, especially Muslim immigration.  The West’s extreme secularism, its dominant and main stream orientation, has naturally called up its obvious opposition, the “extreme right.” It seems that this “extreme right” has bubbled to the surface in every Western European country.  Of course, it does not take much to be dubbed extreme by the secular media.  You may not be more extreme than the secularist community, but since you are not main stream, you will be considered extreme simply because you represent its “opposite” in some way and make the secularists uncomfortable. Applying the epithet “extreme” is their declaimer and puts you at a safe distance.

Secularism vs "Extreme Right"
Though I do not approve of or support this “extreme right” anymore than I do secularism, I do sympathize with them in some way or, at least, understand their reaction.  They are reacting at the situation of indiscriminate Muslim immigration created by blind and ignorant secularists who were assuming all along that “these Muslims” will become rational and normal like their Western hosts.  That is to say, they were expected to become secular naturally, for is that not the reasonable and natural way to be?  Just like Muslims feel it is natural for every one to be or become Muslim, so  many secularists think it natural for every one to be or become secular.  Muslims proved them wrong and threw them into a dither from which they have not yet emerged.  The “extreme right” is a natural reaction to that extreme left of main stream secularism.  It was to be expected, us humans being the polarizing animals that we are as especially Herman Dooyeweerd, the main Kuyperian philosopher, has clearly shown us.  As it is sometimes said that Western sects like Jehovah Witnesses are the unpaid bills of the church, so is the “extreme right” the unpaid bill of secularism.  

A Pre-Emption
I must pre-empt a misinterpretation.  I am not suggesting that Muslims should not have been allowed in the West.  However, if the secular(ized) politicians and bureaucrats had not been so blind to the nature of religion in general and not been burdened with their secular tunnel vision, if they had been blessed with the clear and comprehensive view of religion in general as embodied in the Kuyperian movement, they would have had different expectations and therefore developed more realistic policies.  And if they had been blessed with a clear understanding of Islam, that might have given them even better guidance.  Unfortunately, even the Kuyperians among them were lacking here as we can see in The Netherlands, the source country of Kuyperians, in spite of the fact that “Father Abraham” Kuyper wrote a fairly penetrating 2-volume tome on the Mediterranean Muslim community a century ago.  (See my translation of a key chapter at Just type in < Kuyper-Boer >.)  

Breivik a Christian?
Breivik is dubbed a “Christian extremist.”  He does claim to be a convinced Christian. Translating from a Dutch translation of the Norwegian original, he said of himself, “I am a baptized Protestant and had that voluntarily confirmed when I was fifteen.” But he is totally dismayed about the state of the Protestant Church and considers it a joke.  Should we accept his self-designation as Christian?  Jesus warns us not to judge a man’s heart, but He also affirms that one can judge a tree by its fruits. If Breivik were a member of my denomination, the Christian Reformed Church in North America, he would traditionally have been placed under formal ecclesiastical discipline and banned from Communion as well as all official positions and functions.  He would become the object of intense pastoral care. If he were to resist the church’s overtures, refuse to confess his sin and reject repentance, he would eventually be excommunicated and considered to be beyond the pale, a non-Christian. Breivik may consider himself a Christian, but I judge his ambitions and acts of violence as totally unchristian.

Christianity and Violence
At any rate, Muslims often complain that Islam is unfairly accused of generating violence and terrorism. They are looking for an acknowledgement that Christians also engage in violence and terrorism.  In the past, they have pointed to Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma.  Sometimes they point to the various mass shootings that occasionally take place in North America. To what extent any of these shootings are triggered by twisted versions of the Christian faith, I do not know.  But, bluntly put, I cannot possibly recognize any of these acts as triggered by Biblical Christianity.  Seems simply impossible to me. As to the Crusades, the Christian church or its members have time upon time expressed their disapproval of that movement. I see it as an action by a Christian community that was still very close to its pagan past and which, along with most of the world, considered warfare and other forms of violence a normal and legitimate part of life. It was an era described in the Old Testament as, “In the spring, when kings go to war….” They would not have had the “patience” we display today with the current unjust stalemate between the Palestinians and Israel. They would have just marched in with their hordes and blown up the whole place.  Muslims should discontinue their custom of considering everything the West or Westerners do as Christian.  Mainline Islam denies that Muslims always act as Muslims; same with Christians and Christianity.  Terrorists may be Muslims but their terrorism is not motivated by Islam; same with the McVeighs and Breiviks of this world. The most awful things have been perpetrated by both Christians and Muslims, but I can vouch that none of it could ever be justified or was ever motivated by Biblical Christianity.  Most Muslims would say the same of Islam, but I would not be the right party to vouch for that.   

Promise re Next Post
In the next blog we return to Islamic Banking, I promise, but, as with everything else in this world, inshallah.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Islamic Banking (3)

Post 32  

While the last two posts presented you with two different Nigerian viewpoints on Islamic banking, today I begin to share with you some of my own perspective.  My material is laced with quotations from my book Christians and Muslims: Parameters for Living Together (Vol. 8-2 of my Studies in Christian-Muslim Relations, ch. 9.  Remember, you can access it free of charge from  < > by just typing  < jan h boer >).  Since it is both a rather complicated and important subject, I will be dealing with it in a number of posts, though I have not planned it well enough to predict how many.  

Wisdom of Islamic (and Canadian) Economies
That Chapter 9 begins with a quotation from Amr al-Faisal, a board member of a holding company that owns several Islamic banks and other financial institutions:

The ugly side ofWall Street is exposed; it’s always been there but
covered by a layer of glamour that is now stripped away. We are
more conservative and sober in our investments. That used to be
considered a handicap. Now it’s considered the height of wisdom (p. 313).

I know, quoting is a kind laziness, something that will get me nowhere, as the saying goes.  But I did want to share this quote from the midst of the recent economic tsunami—November, 2008.  If you did not know the origin of this quote, you might have surmised that the speaker was describing the Canadian situation at the time.  Canada, too, had been more conservative in its investment policies and was sometimes sneered at by its more adventurous cousins south of her border, but it came out of the tsunami with comparatively flying colours, more so than any other major Western economy.  It turned out that “adventurous” really was a mask for recklessness, a feature that Islamic banking allegedly avoids.  OK, so laziness will get me nowhere, but a bit of patriotism won’t hurt.  With those overwhelming and boastful neighbours to our south, our Canadian self-image needs such a lift occasionally.  So far the digression.  Phew! Got that off my chest!

Why the Call for Islamic Banking
Returning to Nigeria, why would her Muslims clamour for Islamic banking?  That call was heard from way before the recent tsunami and way before anyone had ever heard of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the scholarly chief of the Central Bank of Nigeria who is currently spearheading the drive for Islamic Banking.  For the latest here, I encourage you to check the internet under headings like “Nigeria: Islamic (or: Sharia) banking” and you will get an eyeful. 

A Nigerian Muslim scholar, Ibrahim Sulaiman, explains what initially prompted the call of Sharia banking:
Colonialists found a viable legal and economic system in place in what became Northern Nigeria. The British undermined the sharia legal system and largely replaced it with foreign British Common Law.  That is indeed what happened, but not only in the legal world. Sulaiman explains that the same process took place in economics. The British replaced the indigenous Muslim economic system with capitalism. Among the educated elite with their colonialized mentality, the Muslim approach to economics was slowly forgotten. He wrote, “If Nigeria does not know the nature of the Islamic economic system, then she has an obligation to learn it with a view to applying it. Ignorance of a system which still influences the lives of the majority of this nation’s people is an unspeakable national disgrace. Must anyone be surprised that Nigeria has sunk into an economic disaster?” Please turn to volume 4 of my series, appendix 6, where Sulaiman argues for Muslim corrections to Nigeria’s economic system. Among others, he proposed that Muslims must create a Muslim banking system (pp. 314-315).

Call for Decolonization
Having written that 8-volume series as well as a tome of a doctoral dissertation on colonialism in Nigeria and a couple of other books on related subjects (see the Boeriana page on my  < > ), I can vouch for the accuracy of Sulaiman’s explanation.  That’s exactly what happened.  And that’s a major reason I am sympathetic towards the Muslim call for Islamic banking, for the Nigerian experience is a common one where, over the decades and even centuries, capitalism in its colonial and subsequent editions suppressed Islamic economics and imposed its own Western system. Many Muslims now have woken up from their slumber and recognize the poison pill they had been dealt.  The call for sharia banking is at least partially a call for the continuing liberation of the Muslim world from colonial shackles. 

Need for Christian Support
Though Christians largely supported colonialism in the past, they have since come to recognize colonialism for what it really was and therefore now recognize it as an evil arrangement that should never have been and that they should never have supported to begin with.  Since Christians now sympathize with all attempts at undoing colonial situations, including those practiced by non-Western nations, they should also be more sympathetic towards the Islamic banking movement, since that is part of the de-colonization movement, of the liberation that Sulaiman is talking about.

Liberation, de-colonization, allowing a people their own culture are today recognized as issues with which Christians would naturally sympathize. They have become part of our “common sense” or “shared values” that few people will challenge today. That being the case, Islamic banking should get a more sympathetic ear from them. 

Of course, this is not the only issue.  Others will follow in succeeding posts.  Curious? Stay with me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Islamic Banking: Campaign Of A CBN Governor Or Kano Prince

Post 31

The previous post featured an article on Islamic Banking in Nigeria by my friend Dr. Aliyu Tilde, a Nigerian Muslim journalist.  Today I feature an article with quite a different perspective by Ifeanyi Izeze, also a Nigerian.  The next post will be written by yours truly. I will give my perspective on the subject.   At this very point, this is a hot issue in Nigeria right now.  A Nigerian correspondent friend of mine is currently forwarding numerous articles on the subject to me.  However, it is also causing debate in the West, where it is a growing institution.

So, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome:

Ifeanyi Izeze

Honestly, the controversy the said commencement of Islamic banking in Nigeria has generated was not only unnecessary but caused because the man in charge could not decipher that the disposition and carriage of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should be entirely different from that of a Kano prince who sees himself as an emir in waiting.

Sanusi Mischief? 
Most Nigerians think the Islamic finance concept was ‘crazy’ simply because of the way the Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has gone about it with pronouncements and attitudes that painted a hidden sectional agenda. The timing and spirit behind Sanusi’s disposition obviously paints a picture of mischief. Initially, I belonged to this group until I studied the principles of the banking model.
Keeping Religion out of Banking
Lending money to people without interest is also in the Bible so there is nothing Islamic about lending money without interest. It is also biblical. But the question is why not outrightly call it interest- free banking system? Must it be Islamic banking or Christian banking or some other kind of religious banking? We must not bring religion into our political setting or our economic life. This is what we have to guard against as a people with common destiny except we are not. 

Sanusi for himself, government or Islam?
Although the concept of a non- interest banking system might be a very good idea, it’s introduction obviously has proven to be wrongly timed by the CBN governor.  Judging by the displayed disposition of the CBN governor, it would have made a better sense if he had done this advocacy for Islamic banking as a religious leader rather than as a federal government official.  There is need for Sanusi to come out and tell the nation whose errand he is running and for who he speaks; is it for himself, Islam, or government of Nigeria?
Christian Opposition
We all should be concerned that this act coming now is further tearing us apart along ethno-religious lines. The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has already called on government to stop Sanusi “before he throws Nigeria into financial and even religious fire.” The PFN is afraid that the primary interest of the CBN Governor as far as this Islamic banking matter is concerned is nothing other than positioning Islamic religion and pushing sharia agenda to the front doors of most Nigerians. While some Muslims see others’ (Christians) refusal of Islamic banking in today’s Nigeria as a distaste for Islam. This situation would have been avoided if Sanusi had seen himself more as the CBN Governor than a Kano prince and an emir in waiting by his pronouncements and displayed arrogance.

Bad timing
All well meaning Nigerians should strongly condemn the attitude of the Central Bank governor more so at a time like this in Nigeria when we are still battling to douse the tension created by the last ‘political’ crisis with all the evident religious manifestations. This obviously is an insensitive and reckless act of the highest order coming from such a high ranking officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Militants Seize It?
The CBN found no other time to talk about Islamic banking except this time of Boko Haram menace? How do you ensure that extremist organisations shall not hijack the entire concept and capitalize on that to further intimidate Nigerians -Christians and Moslems alike?  If Sanusi is not playing mischief, why name it Islamic banking rather than what it is: merely non-interest banking? The saying that you leave the messenger and take the message cannot apply here at all because the messenger and his disposition is as important as the message itself.

Setting Standards
The draft framework for this banking concept was issued in March 2009 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The objective of the framework was to provide minimum standards for the operation of non-interest banking in Nigeria while serving as an exposure for comments, suggestions and/or inputs by stakeholders. The suggestions and/or inputs from stakeholders never came. More than two years after, Sanusi the CBN governor released the final guidelines which cover only non-interest banking according to Islamic commercial law and jurisprudence and has been campaigning for it as if he is on a jihad.

Necessary Distinctions

Fair enough, in the revised guidelines, the CBN recognised two types of non-interest banking: non-interest financial products and services based on principles of Islamic commercial jurisprudence, as well as financial products and services based on any other established rules and principles. So why not introduce all forms of the concept together at the same time? Unfortunately, even if the CBN turns today to introduce the other variants of the non-interest banking concept, people on the other side of the divide can never trust the sincerity of such action because they will only see it as a damage control measure.
Pro-People Policy

The Central Bank said it was introducing Islamic banking in order to open up the financial space to those who were locked out. “Financial inclusion is a major challenge. Almost 50 percent of adult Nigerians do not have access to capital. What is keeping them out? Many things. But to the extent that non-interest banks can address some of the reasons for their staying out, we should encourage them,” said CBN deputy governor (financial systems stability), Kingsley Moghalu, while assuring Nigerians on the genuine intentions of introducing the Islamic variant of non-interest banking.
The CBN seems to be elusive of the fact that while there is a need to redefine the function of capital, it is equally necessary to ensure that such redefinition is not seen to favour one religion over another because it’s not only in the Islamic faith that we have Nigerians who have been excluded from the conventional banking system. Go to Okija shrine, you will find people (pagans) who have been denied access to capital for whatever reasons. You see what I mean?

Islamic Banking in the West

It is irresponsible of the CBN governor to allege that those opposed to the introduction of Islamic banking in Nigeria are not conversant with current happenings in the world as the system is being practised in the United Kingdom and other countries of the world dominated by Christians. He should have told us how that model of banking is doing in those countries. He deliberately dodged that.

What is the point of this banking concept in a developing country which is struggling with mere social amenities? Who will support it and with what resources. The problem with us Nigerians is that we always like to cite countries that are well ahead of us. The government will soon remove subsidy from petroleum products and it tends to hike tariffs on non-available electricity, where will the money come to subsidise for Islamic banking or are we going to get the monies from outside and under what conditions?

Some advanced European and Asian countries may have Islamic banks, but such banks are never the prime movers of those nations’ economies. At best, such non-interest banks are heavily subsidised either by the host state or some oil-rich Middle East countries that want to promote the initiative.

Threat of Corruption and Failure

In a developing capitalist economy like Nigeria, those who may “donate” their heard-earned monies for Islamic banking may never be those who earned their money through honest means. If dishonest people “donate” start-up funds for Islamic banks, we may eventually have situations where depositors’ monies evaporate like during the early and mid 90s’ banks in Nigeria. And above all, taking monies from dubious sources defeats the entire concept of Islamic banking which stipulates that all monies used for transactions must come from honest earnings.

A report last June by the New York-based Wall Street Journal warned that “Islamic banking has not necessarily produced great returns. Regulators must do a thorough job before approving any application for Islamic banking.” Quoting Junaid Bhatti, part of the team that set up Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), the report said “the first Sharia-compliant bank approved by the Financial Services Authority has been a big disappointment. Sharia-compliant banking products have been a flop in Britain.”


Those who are well-informed on the matter would agree that there is no market for Islamic Banking in Nigeria yet or anywhere in Africa and this is the truth. The current gimmick is merely political. The banking system is too sophisticated and given the human mindset, very difficult to practice. It’s like communism, very nice ideas, but a failure in practice. Only in countries in which Islamic Banking is heavily subsidised by the state, has it been practicable.

For whatever reasons Sanusi is just deceiving Nigerians and seeking to divided them on such a very emotive issue.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Aliyu Tilde: Islamic Banking

This post is a republication of an article written by Dr. Aliyu Tilde, a Nigerian Muslim journalist  friend of mine that he published on his own blog.  Though I am a Christian missionary and would normally be expected to reject his arguments,  I support much of his discussion.  The next post will feature the opinion of another Nigerian writer with a different perspective. That one will be  followed up with comments of my own in the next post. 

You may be wondering why I devote a whole three posts to the rather unknown subject of Islamic banking and that in a foreign country.  Well, we are living in the global city (as against village) where what happens in one country is likely to affect people in other countries.  Islamic banking may not be tbe most known of subjects, but it is up and coming, even in the West.  I refer you to Chapter 9 of Volume 8-2 of my series Studies in Christian Muslim Relations, which you can access free of charge at < >.  Furthermore, Nigeria makes a significant case study of Christian-Muslim affairs, since it has around 65-70 million of each! There is no configuration like it in the entire world. It is the world's laboratory for these affairs. 

 OK, brother Aliyu, the mike is yours.  Go to it....

Nigerian Bishops and Islamic Banking, Plus the Missing Link

I will not be surprised if this essay is short in the end because honestly there is little to add to the blind statements circulated daily around the country in the name of ‘debate’ about ‘Islamic’ banking, which the country, we are told, must ditch for the sake of its ‘unity’. The whole wahala (trouble) about Islamic banking is mounted on the defective tripod of debate, Islam and unity, which are poorly joined by the clandestine glue of self-interest.

Debate is about objective reasoning. But there is no reason in this one, much less objectivity, at least not to my hearing so far. The speakers opposing the motion of Islamic banking have failed to make a single point, economic or constitutional. Instead, they flaunt threats, as if intimidation will earn them the points which only reason could accord.

There are also reservations about the characterization of the interest-free banking as ‘Islamic’. Many learned people, including some prominent Muslim scholars in Nigeria, would readily argue that interest and usury are not synonyms. But even if we grant that interest is usury, then Islam is not innovative in forbidding it. Christianity and Judaism have earlier condemned strongly. Categorizing it as ‘Islamic’ also gives the feeling, albeit a subtle one, that the contemporary interest-based financial institutions, including the World Bank and the IMF that have aided the proliferation of misery in the world, are Christian. We must not fall into this trap of the bigotry. Let us keep in mind that the West has abandoned many teachings of Christ (blessings be upon him) long ago, just as the Muslims have long abandoned an equal quantum of the teachings of Muhammad (peace be upon him). Very bad followers of the trio – Moses, Jesus and Muhammad – inhabit the world today. Oh Heaven. Come to our rescue.

The third leg is the ‘unity’ of Nigeria that is often used to justify any self-motivated clamor. We have seen this before in the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Conferences) question of the 1980s. It was said that the country would be divided if it becomes a member of the organization though Kenya, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Uganda and so many Christian dominated countries did not give up to the ghost when they took the OIC membership pill. Nigeria must be a strange beast, therefore. The reaction was the same when the country contemplated taking an interest-free loan from Islamic Development Bank. Again, the cry was Nigeria does not need the Bank since it is ‘Islamic’. It should take it from the IMF where, as someone put it, the country finally paid $16billion on a $5billion loan, and still owed the debtors $28billion. But it is cool in the eyes of our Bishops because IMF in their misconstrued judgment is ‘Christian’.

And now it is the turn of interest-free banking that is now a global financial product to reincarnate that blind dissonance. Our ears, again, are deafened by the fallacy of the 80s. Here we go again: ‘This is a plan to Islamize Nigeria’ ‘It is Boko Haram banking’ ‘Nigeria will be divided’. Evidently, a visitor from Mars will not fail, upon hearing these statements, to declare that Nigeria is a haven for imbecility and mischief. A simple survey of the so-called Islamic banking will reveal that it is practiced by ‘Christian’ banks in ‘Christian’ nations like Europe and America, the principal mentors of its antagonists in Nigeria. As if to silence the Christian leadership in Nigeria, the Vatican press published an article extolling the merits and successes of Islamic banking two weeks ago. Poor Vatican! It does not know that Nigerians could be more Catholic than the Pope.

I will plead with my Christian brothers that we the laity should not listen to our local leaders on this matter. Reason should prevail. It is high time someone bold enough among our brothers rise to the occasion and tell the clerics these simple facts:

“Please separate economics from politics, for God’s sake. Give to the bank manager what is to the bank, and to PDP what is to Caesar. Transact here, and cheat there. Mixing the two could be a lethal cocktail. Embrace the teachings of Jesus by condemning usury in all its ramifications. Follow the Vatican and establish your interest-free banks or let the Central Bank of Nigeria the breathing space to perform its statutory duty of issuing license of the same genre to whoever is interested and qualified. Christianity does not take its measurements from Islam. So do not make Islam to determine Christianity. Opposing Islam and Muslims in Nigeria does not always qualify anything as Christian. Christianity, like Islam, is a religion based on values, principal among them the abrogation of all forms of human exploitation, of which usury plays the major role in the prevailing world economic disorder. Not a fly would die in Nigeria because a bank or two have adopted an interest-free product as part of their portfolio.”

These are the words I am waiting to hear from the bold Christian who would publicly come forward and call the clerics to order. A Soludo who initiated the product, an Iweala that is respected even by the oyinbo, just any name they can trust. Why not a word from President Jonathan? If there is none, then I cannot help becoming sick. Please check me at the emergency ward.

But some ‘Christian’ banks in the country cannot afford to wait for that brave voice. Driven by the Smithian principle of profit, every week one of them is approaching the CBN for a license for Islamic Banking. I believe, before long, all the ‘Christian’ banks in the country would buy the product to the dismay of the Bishops.

I join those who are intelligent enough to know that Nigeria will not break up for the sake of interest-free banking. It may break up, perhaps soon, but on different grounds. I will enjoin all well meaning Nigerians not to engage in the futile exercise of defending ‘Islamic Banking’ in the face of opposition from our Christian fathers. They should continue to embrace the Shafi’ite logic: the lion is feared though it is silent, but the dog is stoned in spite of it's barking. Let us not bark at any visitor to our house. He may be a friend. It is the statutory duty of the apex bank and I am satisfied with the quantum of energy it is expending to explain, notwithstanding the deafness of its audience, that it is not a matter of religion but business, unusual though.

Muslims must not confuse the clerics with Christianity or our Christian brothers. The clerics are billionaires. Recently, one of them boasted that he is a billionaire and that “there is nothing anybody can do about it!” Yes Bishop. What can ordinary souls like me do about it? My Christian brothers and me are not billionaires. We are only struggling to make ends meet in Nigeria. Aha.

The clerics, it seems, are in an unholy alliance with the interest-based banks to extort ordinary Christians. The banks are where the bishops and pastors safely keep, and profiteer through interest banking, the millions they harvest from their fellowship weekly. As billionaire depositors, how much interest do they earn daily? Oh! That is the missing link in the ongoing debate on Islamic banking. In a vicious way, opposition to anything Muslim serves as a lubricant to this extortion engine. It is expected to impress the followers and make them more susceptible to increase the returns of their billionaire bishops. Thus in Nigeria Islam has become an interest-free product of primitive accumulation that makes Mr. Bishop and Mr. Bank Manager smile every Monday morning.

Finally, when all is said and done, with the ‘debate’ on ‘Islamic’ banking in a ‘united’ Nigeria long forgotten, one indisputable fact would remain: both Muslims and Christians, in America or in Nigeria, are victims of the present free-for-all financial institutions that are based on interest and speculations. It should therefore be an area of mutual interest, not mutual discord. Fighting this exploitation should be a joint project for Muslims and Christians in Nigeria with common sense.

But I am sad to note that for many in my country Nigeria, sense is not common.

Bauchi, Nigeria
6 July, 2011