As discussion continues on the subject of the recent ECD appointment and the questions it raises for Tennessee in the global marketplace, it is imperative to understand that the issue is not with Samar Ali the person, but rather, what she and all information reported about her, describe as her professional expertise and political issues of focus – the very information, in fact some of the most relevant professional information about her, NOT reported by Governor Haslam.
See for example:
Global Islamic Finance Magazine- “White House Welcomes Shariah Finance Specialist” “http://www.globalislamicfinancemagazine.com/?com=articles_list&aid=842
“President Obama has announced his appointment of Shariah Finance Specialist Samar Ali to serve as one of the 13 fellows of the White House. Ms Samar Ali is an attorney who specialises on Islamic Shariah compliant finance and regularly advises clients on Islamic transactions and was founding member of first U.S delegation to the World Islamic Economic Forum.”
2010 6th World Islamic Economic Forum conference booklet bio, p.70 http://www.mcb.org.uk/wief/Documents/6WIEF%20Brochure.pdf
“Samar Ali is currently an Associate with the firm Hogan & Hartson,LLP. She regularly counsels clients on project finance transactions, mergers and acquisitions, Middle East hotel transactions, Shariah-compliant transactions and international business matters. During her tenure at Hogan& Hartson, she has also served as a founding member of both the firm’s Abu Dhabi office and its Islamic Finance Group.”
2009 5th World Islamic Economic Forum Conference booklet bio, p.64
“Samar Ali is currently an associate with Hogan & Hartson LLP in Abu Dhabi and is a member of the Firm’s Corporate and Islamic Finance Practice Groups. As a lawyer, she regularly counsels clients on project finance transactions, mergers and acquisitions and international business matters.”
White House bio –2010-2011 Class of White House Fellows
“Samar Ali, Waverly, TN. Samar Ali is an Associate with the firm Hogan Lovells US LLP. She is responsible for counseling clients on mergers & acquisitions, cross-border transactions, Shari’a compliant transactions, project finance, and international business matters. During her time with Hogan Lovells, she has been a founding member of the firm’s Abu Dhabi office. Prior to that, she clerked for The Honorable Gilbert S. Merritt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and for The Honorable Edwin Cameron, now of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, where she also worked extensively on editing his book Witness to AIDS. While in Nashville, Samar led the YMCA Israeli-Palestinian Modern Voices for Progress Program, and is currently the transatlantic liaison for the development of the Palestine Diabetes Institute. She is a founding member of the first U.S. Delegation to the World Islamic Economic Forum, and has served as an Advisory Board Member of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health. She is also a three-time Southeastern Tae Kwon Do Black Belt Champion. Samar received a J.D. from Vanderbilt Law School and a B.S. in Political Science with Honors from Vanderbilt, where she served as the first Arab-Muslim student body president.”
Press Release from Hogan Lovells- Hogan Lovells Associate Appointed White House Fellow
“WASHINGTON, D.C., 24 June 2010 – Hogan Lovells is pleased to announce that associate Samar Ali has been appointed to serve as one of 13 White House Fellows for 2010-2011. To be selected to this prestigious program, applicants must demonstrate a strong commitment to public service and leadership, a record of remarkable early career professional achievement, evidence of leadership skills, and the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed at the highest levels of the Federal government.
Ali’s practice in Abu Dhabi with Hogan Lovells US LLP focuses on mergers & acquisitions, cross-border transactions, Shari’a compliant transactions, project finance, and international business matters. Before joining Hogan & Hartson in 2007, Ali worked as a summer associate for the firm and as a legal intern for the Islamic International Arab Bank. She also served as a judicial clerk to The Honorable Gilbert S. Merritt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and as a judicial clerk to The Honorable Edwin Cameron, now of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Prior to that, Ali led the YMCA Israeli-Palestinian Modern Voices for Progress Program, and is currently the transatlantic liaison for the development of the Palestine Diabetes Institute. She is a founding member of the first U.S. Delegation to the World Islamic Economic Forum, ..”
Duke University Law School – “Careers in the Middle East: an overview with Samar Ali”
When: 01/13/2012 at 04:00 PM to 01/13/2012 at 05:00 PM “Samar Ali, an associate in Hogan Lovells’ DC office and White House Fellow in 2010-2011, will be speaking about the path that led her to a career practicing transactional law with a focus on the Middle East. Ms. Ali assisted in establishing Hogan Lovells’ Abu Dhabi office, and her practice areas include cross-border transactions and Shari’a compliant transactions. Ms. Ali will also be available to answer students’ questions. For more information, contact Daniel Koehler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each source includes her professional expertise in Shariah Compliant Finance. Additionally, she was part of the 2009 British delegation to the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) before she organized and participated in the first U.S. delegation to the WIEF. And note that her international business experience as referenced in her former law firm’s press release, was based in the Abu Dhabi office, which she helped to establish.
Proponents of shariah law say that Islam dictates a complete way of life. Shariah adherents in Tennessee have affirmed publicly that they cannot pick and choose which parts of Shariah to follow. (see, Newsletter #13 Muslim chaplain to the MSA at Vanderbilt).
Even a cursory scan of the Shariah advisors who are integral to making the Shariah Compliant Finance (SCF) engine run, confirms that SCF is, as with everything Shariah, to promote Shariah.
What’s the problem with SCF?
1. – Deceptively marketed as “ethical investing”, “interest-free”, “socially responsible”.
2. – Lack of full disclosure to investors regarding all aspects of Shariah.
3. – Funnels money to jihadi terrorists through “zakat” (Islamic charity or tithing and is one of the five pillars), which according to SCF, can only be directed to charities approved by authorized Shariah advisors/scholars.
4. – Shariah law identifies 8 categories of permissible “zakat” recipients including, jihadi combatants “those fighting in Allah’s cause” as well as survivors of those that die in the fight. For example, the 9-11 Commission report documented that zakat was used to fund al-Qaeda.
5. – Tainted revenue, ie, earnings of SCF found to have come from activities or sources that are “haram,” or unislamic, must be “purified” through donations to Islamic charities, approved by the Shariah advisors. For example, it could be revenue generated by an investment in a forbidden industry such as Western defense, pork or alcohol production. This proscription applies to any and all transactions and institutions involved with SCF.
6. – At least 80 Muslim charities have been designated by the U.S. Treasury Department, the U.K. and even the U.N., as funding terrorism.
Examples of Shariah advisors utilized in the SCF industry:
Sheikh al-Qaradawi, describes SCF as “jihad with money”. (He was quoted in 2006 stating, “I like to call it [zakah] jihad with money, because God has ordered us to fight enemies with our lives and our money.”) al-Qaradawi, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and reputed to be the most prominent Sunni Shariah scholar, has been banned from the U.S. and Britain because of ties to terrorism and reported ties to Hamas. He served 2 years as a board member of the Islamic Society of Boston. He serves as President of the Saudi charity “Union of Good”, an umbrella group of 53 Muslim charities that has been designated as a terrorist entity by U.S. Treasury Department. In a statement aired on Al-Jazeera TV on January 28, 2009 during the Gaza war, al-Qaradawi said the following regarding Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust:
“Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who would punish them for their corruption…The last punishment was carried out by [Adolf] Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them…Allah Willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.” MEMRITV.org, Clip no. 2005, Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar)
Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo, is considered the leading authority on Shariah finance in the U.S. and serves internationally as a Shariah advisor. Among his credits is his statement attesting to the accuracy and authenticity of the English translation of the Reliance of the Traveller. DeLorenzo is the Shariah scholar who has worked to uncouple and deliberately obscure the relationship between the Shariah and SCF – “[i]n order to be more readily understandable to regulators in Muslim-minority countries, such as the U.S. and Europe, there is nothing wrong in using another term, like ‘Ethical Advisory Board’”.(Abana Review, Fall 2002). He has served as the Secretary of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), (formerly the Fiqh Council of the Islamic Society of North America). Former FCNA President, Muzamil Siddiqui is an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism trial and FCNA trustee Abdurrahman Alamoudi is serving a 23-year sentence for terrorism-related activities. FCNA leaders have appeared at conferences honoring al-Qaradawi.
Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, formerly a Shariah judge on the Pakistan Supreme Court for 20 years, is another highly recognized Shariah advisor in the SCF world. He chairs one of the major SCF industry bodies – the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Finance Institutions and used to head up the HSBC Shariah Council and Dow Jones Islamic Index (which happens to be managed by Muslim Brotherhood unindicted co-conspirator North American Islamic Trust (NAIT)). He is a central leader with the madrassa that produced the Taliban and he has publicly endorsed suicide bombing. Among his writings is a book “Islam and Modernism” – “Killing is to continue until the unbelievers pay jizyah (subjugation tax) after they are humbled or overpowered.” In other writings he states, “For a non-Muslim state to have more pomp and glory than a Muslim state itself is an obstacle, therefore to shatter this grandeur is among the greater objectives of jihad.” He continues to sit on many Shariah Advisory Boards including Maldives Islamic Bank, Guidance Financial Group, USA, Amana Investments Limited and the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, UAE.
Why are U.S. leaders, banks, investment groups and other financial concerns willing to turn a blind eye to the realities of Shariah Compliant Finance? Money, money, money?
The Governor’s office has suggested that Samar Ali’s father former leadership with the Tennessee Medical Association somehow enhances her candidacy as the International Director for the ECD.
Information about Dr. Ali’s (Samar’s father), political activities not released by the Governor’s office follows.
Dr. Subhi Ali, has been involved for quite some time with an organization called the Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development (the Fund), and currently serves as the Chair of its Board. As stated on its website:
“The Jerusalem Fund for Education & Community Development is an independent, non-profit, non-political, non-sectarian organization based in Washington, D.C. Funding for operational expenses is derived from investment income. This, together with donations from private individuals throughout the U.S., supports our humanitarian grants.”
The Jerusalem Fund is comprised of 3 programs – “The Palestine Center”, “The Humanitarian Link” and “The Gallery”.
Despite the Fund’s self-description as “non-political”, a review of its leadership, programming, and issues of focus, reflect an overtly pro-Palestinian/pro-Hamas/anti-Israel sentiment. “The Gallery” is solely focused on promoting “..the rich culture and national heritage of the Palestinian people, as well as that of surrounding Arab societies.”
“The Palestine Center”, noted as the educational arm of the Jerusalem Fund, is designed specifically to “…give[s] voice to the Palestinian narrative through policy briefings, lecture series, conferences, symposia, scholarly research publications.” With disclaimers on behalf of the Jerusalem Fund and its educational program displayed, the Palestine Center offers Information briefs such as the one written by its 2010 intern titled “The Rising Support for Hamas and the Roots of its Success in Palestine” (“One of Hamas’ more distinctive qualities is its emphasis on Islam. In addition to its self-proclaimed role as a legitimate and honest replacement to Fateh, Hamas also acts as a religious alternative to the secular Fateh.”)
In addition to making grants for social services in the “Occupied Territory” “The Humanitarian Link” supports the Palestine Diabetes Institute. As reported in her White House bio, Samar served as the transatlantic liaison during the development of this project.
Originally named the “Occupied Land Fund”, recall that the Holy Land Foundation was the largest Islamic charity in the U.S. which in 2007 was successfully prosecuted and shut down for funding Hamas and other Islamic terrorist organizations.
In the company of the Jerusalem Fund….
Jerusalem Fund Board member Omar Jamil Fayez is a Chicago attorney who is also an officer in the 501(c)(3) The Middle East Cultural and Charitable Society, Inc. (MECCS). In a 2001 article he wrote that “Today more than two thousand years after the birth of Christ, the Christians of Palestine are once again being threatened by the Jews.”
A past officer of MECCS, Daniel McGowan whose written commentary defends Holocaust revisionism and denial, asserted in an online video that “the 9/11 attacks were simply a reaction to our pro-Israel policies” and called Nobel Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel, “a fraud”.
Another officer in the MECCS is Ali Abunimah, described by “Discover the Networks” as a “Palestinian American [and Board of Director member] for the Chicago-based Arab American Action Network. He is also a founding member of Al Awda, the Palestinian Right of Return Coalition.
In 2001 Abunimah co-founded and heads as the executive director, Electronic Infitada, a major online media outlet promoting the Palestinian agenda along with BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against Israel. His former website, ( now only accessible through “wayback”), serves as an archive for his personal writings which are stridently pro-Palestinian and equally hostile toward Israel and the U.S. In a 2010 entry on his blog he defended Hamas’ policy blocking the International Committee of the Red Cross from visiting Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier abducted in a cross border raid by Hamas and then held captive by them for over 5 years.
Electronic Infitada’s other co-founder and contributing editor wrote an article claiming that the 9/11 attacks were “the biggest gift, wrapped up in silk ribbons and presented on a golder platter, that [the pro-Israel lobby] could ever hope to receive. A real day of victory and glee for them to see that now they have the entire US populace in the palm of their hands.”
The Governor’s constituent letter (see Newsletter #21), responding to inquiries about Samar Ali’s appointment to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) references her father’s (Dr.Subhi Ali) position as the past President of the Tennessee Medical Association, a credential seemingly unrelated to Ms. Ali’s appointment.
One possible explanation could be simple politics and cronyism:
See for example, Will Alexander, son of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (formerly Asst. Commissioner for Strategy, now chief of staff of ECD); Clint Brewer, Knoxville native and former political editor for The Tennessean (nowECD’s Assistant Commissioner, Communications and Creative Services). Even new ECD appointee Alice Rolli, was formerly employed by Senator Alexander.
But if the Governor believes that Dr. Ali’s political activities are somehow relevant to Ms. Ali’s appointment, then aren’t his constituents, the voters who put Governor Haslam in office, entitled to all the information about Dr. Ali?
It was already noted in Newsletter #16 that Samar donated $450 to the Harold Ford Jr. for Tennessee campaign in 2006 and that her father, Dr. Subhi Ali, donated $500 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008.
Dr. Subhi Ali’s other political spending:
Cynthia McKinney – $250
Cynthia McKinney – $750 (Dr. Maysoon Ali [mother] – $1,000)
Merwyn Scott (former McKinney staffer) – $1,000
Bob Clement – $500
Maad 4 Congress (Calif. Dem.) – $250
Cynthia McKinney – $250
Lincoln Davis – $250
Mark Norris – $200
Independent Medicine PAC-TN (IMPACT) – $250
IMPACT – $500; $600
Bredesen – $500
2006 – Dr. Maysoon Ali (mother) – Bredesen – $500
IMPACT – $1,000
IMPACT – $300 Dr. Maysoon Ali – $300
IMPACT – $1,000
IMPACT – $500 Dr. Maysoon Ali – $500
For the 2010 Tennessee gubernatorial primary the Independent Medicine PAC –TN (IMPACT) donated $7,500 to Ron Ramsey and $2,500 to Roy Herron. The PAC is listed among the Affiliates and Partners of the Tennessee Medical Association (TMA). Dr. Ali’s other daughter Yasmine Ali, M.D. is listed as a Board member of the TMA.
The Alis are a very politically involved and active family.
Cynthia McKinney stands out most among the political candidates Drs. Alihave supported. McKinney is a vocal supporter of the pro-Hamas/anti-Israel position. She has also been noted to support the Nation of Islam, the New Black Panthers Party and participated in events sponsored by the Muslim Student Union at UC Irvine.
Much has been documented about the financial support she has received from Arab and Islamist donors. “Interesting” donors include the President of the Bridgeview Mosque (very very interesting article written in 2004 by the Chicago Tribune about the change-over in leadership at this mosque to fundamentalist Islamists), board member of the Islamic Academy of Florida (an Islamic school that during litigation involving Sami al-Arian, was disclosed to have functioned as a base of support for the group Palestinian Islamic Jihad), and $2,000 from Abdurahman Alamoudi, then Director of the American Muslim Foundation.
Alamoudi national president of the Muslim Student Association (MSA)during the 1980s, was al Qaeda’s top fundraiser in America and is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence. An interesting note about McKinney’s 2002 donations – it was reported that $13,850 in donations were made on 9/11 of that year.
Merwyn Scott to whom Dr. Ali donated, also received money from the CAIRdirector in Virginia.
Support for these candidates makes sense in light of Dr. Subhi Ali’s own political activity. More on this to follow.
While offering the same sanitized information as that coming from the Governor’s office, Rep. Debra Maggert has suggested to her constituents who have questioned Ms. Ali’s appointment that they are simply overreacting. Both she and Governor Haslam (who is supporting her in the primary) are appropriately focused on job creation. As Rep. Maggert recently stated, “I’m squarely focused on the priorities of my voters: job creation and economic development” and help[ing] the private sector develop more job opportunities for Tennesseans.”
One question that neither Rep. Maggert nor the Governor are asking though, is, at what cost, in particular, the long-term cost to the foundation of our liberties? Some have even questioned whether the Governor’s family Pilot gas business may be clouding his judgment.
If you go back to Newsletter #20 a reference is made to Samar Ali’s bio in the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) booklet. This bio as well as a June 2010 Hogan Lovells press release, note that before joining the firm in 2007, Ms. Ali worked as a legal intern for the Islamic International Arab Bank in Amman, Jordan.
Articles detailing a lawsuit filed in 2004 which is still on-going in 2012 involving this bank, refer to it by the shorthand “the Arab Bank”. Information in Ms. Ali’s bio suggest that she was working at the bank during the pendency of the lawsuit.
In short, the lawsuit alleges that Arab Bank maintained financial links and funding for organizations and individuals involved in terrorism. Specifically, it is alleged that Arab Bank enabled funding by wealthy Saudis to reach U.S.- named terrorist groups such as Hamas. Additionally, it is alleged that the money was used to induce volunteers for suicide bombing missions by making payoffs to their survivors.
The lawsuit states that Arab Bank financed Palestinian terrorism by “paying a ‘comprehensive insurance benefit’ of around $5,300 to families of suicide bombers on behalf of the Saudi Committee, a government-run charity”, and that financial records reflect that the committee wired this amount of money into accounts that families were told to set up at the Arab Bank. It was reported that approximately 200,000 wire transfers were made totaling more than $90 million dollars.
Not only had the Justice Department started a criminal investigation in 2004, but in 2007, the bank was sued in a New York federal court by Americans and Israelis who had been injured by suicide bombers whose families had accounts at the Arab Bank. The bank refused to disclose certain client records claiming protection under Jordan’s bank secrecy laws. In July 2010, a federal District court judge ruled against the bank holding that Lebanon and Jordan’s privacy rules are void in matters involving terror financing.
A lengthy piece published in 2010 examined the bank’s annual reports and other related documents and reported the following:
- A 2005 release fromm the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network accused the bank of “failing to adequately control suspicious activity and for not maintaining proper anti-money laundering programs.” (the bank paid a $24 million fine for these violations)
- A review of the bank’s annual reports over time reflected a strong connection between the political positions of the bank’s founders and the “provision of banking services to Hamas years after they were named terrorists.”
- The 1964 annual report “celebrated” the founding of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and its mission as noted by the bank’s chairman to “return [the] occupied part of Palestine to the Arabs”
- In 1968 the chairman’s message in the annual report cautioned that the Zionists posed a threat to the entire Arab world and that Arabs needed to “…sacrifice the lives and offer the money needed for the self-defense and for the liberation of their sacred places and all their occupied territories.”
More specifically, the suit alleged that at least 7 separate accounts “for Hamas-linked so-called charitable foundations facilitated the rapid transfer of donations (given by Arabs as zakat, a mandatory charitable tithe), between valid and efficient social-service groups and their sister organizations, the armed units that carry out the bombing attacks.” The suit claimed that Arab Bank used Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad “martyr kits” to make the payments to survivors of the suicide bombers.
With regard to zakat, one document titled “Calculating Zakah” found on the Amana Mutual Funds website (Amana is considered the leading shariah compliant mutual fund group in the U.S., see also Newsletter #16), has a section titled “Who Receives Zakah?”. This section has a list including the category “in the cause of God (fi sabilillah)” which in the index in Reliance of the Traveller, cross-references to the section on “Jihad”. This is further explained by, section h8.0 in the Reliance entitled “Giving Zakat to Deserving Recipients”; section h8.17 is specifically designated for “those fighting for allah” (jihadist combatants) ”), and their families (e.g., support for families of suicide bombers).
Looking at Ms. Ali’s past political and professional accomplishments, such as co-founding the Vanderbilt Middle Eastern Student Association with a Saudi undergraduate and then later on working on behalf of the Palestine Diabetes Institute, one has to wonder where this “lifelong Tennessean born and raised in Waverly” (as described by Governor Haslam), developed her passion for all things Palestinian and Arab?
In a strange twist of irony, it seems that Samar’s father, Subhi Ali shares the same pro-Palestinian anti-Israel sentiment as those associated with the Arab Bank’s lawsuit.
(apologies in advance for this extra long post)
Question – What does Governor Haslam and Shariah Compliant Finance (SCF) have in common?
Answer – Neither one is as they tell you they are.
Shariah proponents, those who truly understand the political objectives of SCF, and those who neither know what SCF is really about or are simply blinded by potential dollars to be made, promote SCF as “interest-free”, “non-interest banking” and/or “ethical investing”.
Governor Haslam’s now official form letter response from his Office of Constituent Services regarding Samar Ali’s appointment says the following:
Thank you for contacting Governor Haslam regarding the new International Director at the Department of Economic and Community Development. Listening to and learning from Tennesseans is very important to this administration, and we appreciate hearing from you.
Samar Ali is a lifelong Tennessean born and raised in Waverly. Her father is a past President of the Tennessee Medical Association.
As a Whitehouse Fellow, Samar worked with the Senior Staff of the Department of Homeland Security through the National Security Council on counter-terrorism efforts. She has a top-secret security clearance from the United States, meaning she has passed the highest levels of security screening.
Samar’s job with the Department of Economic and Community Development is to help Tennessee businesses expand their markets to sell Tennessee products around the world. Expanded markets and higher sales of Tennessee products mean more jobs for Tennesseans.
She is highly qualified for this position – if we are going to expand opportunities for Tennessee businesses, we have to understand the rules of the game all around the world.
We are also sharing your message with the Department of Economic and Community Development for further consideration. Again, thank you for writing. We look forward to working with you and all Tennesseans to make our great state an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.
The Governor’s Office of Constituent Services”
The Governor’s letter about Samar Ali’s appointment point by point:
- Listening to and learning from Tennesseans is very important to this administration
You be the judge on this point.
- Her father is a past President of the Tennessee Medical Association.
Her father’s political activities will be discussed in a separate Newsletter to follow later this week.
- As a Whitehouse Fellow…
Then the Governor’s office should be familiar with her White House bio and her professional credentials including her highly touted expertise in SCF – the one FACT deliberately omitted from the Governor’s public communications.
- Samar worked with the Senior Staff of the Department of Homeland Security through the National Security Council on counter-terrorism efforts.
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano; National Security Council – chaired by the President,
“res ipsa loquitur” (the thing speaks for itself)
- She has a top-secret security clearance from the United States, meaning she has passed the highest levels of security screening.
Well, so did, among others, Mohammed Elibiary who was reported in November 2011 to have taken confidential documents from the Texas Department of Public Safety and shopped them to the media in effort to portray presidential primary contender Rick Perry’s administration as “Islamaphobic”. The self-described moderate Muslim Elibiary, presented at a conference in 2004 honoring Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, calling him a “great Islamic visionary,” and praising former Muslim Brotherhood leader Sayyid Qutb.
Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano swore in Elibiary as part of her advisory council.
Elibiary, who was given special access to a nationwide database that includes terror watch lists and FBI sensitive reports also had top-secret security clearance.
- Samar’s job with the Department of Economic and Community Development is to help Tennessee businesses expand their markets to sell Tennessee products around the world.
In Newsletter #19 the Governor’s earlier version of responding to constituent inquiries about Ms. Ali suggested that she performed well in the arena of international transactions “because of her understanding of different cultures.” Even a cursory scan of her past professional and political work strongly suggest that the predominant or perhaps only culture of focus for her is Arab and Muslim.
Contrasted to the Governor’s earlier statement, which suggested that Ms. Ali would simply be overseeing Tennessee’s current international markets, the most recent statement from the Governor strongly suggests that ECD does indeed have a plan for expanding markets for Tennessee products. Couple this plan with Ms. Ali’s knowledge of different cultures and expertise in SCF….
- She is highly qualified for this position – if we are going to expand opportunities for Tennessee businesses, we have to understand the rules of the game all around the world.
“All around the world” presumably includes Muslim-majority countries.
Recalling Governor Haslam’s efforts over this past year to elevate the political status of Muslims in Tennessee by approving and partnering with the Tennessee American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) and then introducing legislation to retroactively sanction this partnership, it serves mentioning the New York legislation which established the “New York Muslim American Advisory Council”. The legislated objectives of the NY council are to “advise the legislature on ways to advance the role and civic participation of Muslim Americans in NY including appropriate policy development and faith based issues, and, achieve goals related to international commerce in Muslim countries.” Illinois’ Governor Quinn created his Muslim American Advisory Council in 2011 with similar objectives as stated in the NY legislation including “facilitating relationship building with Muslim-majority countries.”
[When asked to comment on the pending execution of Christian convert/Muslim apostate Iranian Pastor Nadarkahni, the Illinois Muslim American Advisory Council said it would not comment because its “constituent jurisdiction lies within the borders of Illinois”]
Looking at the June 2012 “Reception to Learn About Growth Opportunities for Illinois Businesses in Gulf Cooperation Council Countries” (see flyer attached to Newsletter #20), it seems Governor Quinn’s council is making good progress on meeting their objectives. Governor Quinn’s council, just like Governor Haslam’s American Muslim Advisory Council has members who hold leadership positions now or who have previously participated with Muslim Brotherhood organizations. (see Newsletter #7).
Governor Haslam has chosen to characterize the concerns about Ms. Ali’s appointment as being a matter involving “freedom of religion”; the same freedom of religion that he vetoed for the Christian organizations on the Vanderbilt campus. The difference though that Governor Haslam doesn’t seem to understand, is that the case involving Ms. Ali has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with politics, specifically something called “political Shariah”.
Read Rep. Allen West’s recent editorial on SCF in Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/article/615505/201206201802/shariah-finance-helps-fund-jihadists.htm
Why has the Haslam administration deliberately omitted the one area of Ms. Ali’s professional accomplishments that every other entity has written about, including the White House, her high profile former law firm, and the Global Islamic Finance Magazine? Each one has put her expertise in Shariah Compliant Finance (SCF), front and center and yet the Haslam administration is going to great lengths to conceal this information about Ms. Ali.
It was also reported in her White House bio and law firm press release that Ms. Ali interned for theIslamic International Arab Bank. As stated on the bank’s website, it conducts “its banking operations in accordance with Islamic Sharia rules …to meet the growing demand for Islamic banking services and products in the local, Arab and Islamic markets.”
Another SCF first for Ms. Ali was her legal work regarding a Foreign Aid Conventional and Shariah Compliant Student Loan Program.
And still another of Ms. Ali’s highly touted professional accomplishments also nowhere mentioned by the Governor’s office, was her role in organizing and participating in the first U.S. delegation to the World Islamic Economic Forum in 2010. The theme of that year’s forum was “Nurturing the Future in Islamic Finance and Thought Leadership”. It was noted in the conference booklet that “Shariah based products…would have a much wider market: everyone”. Ms. Ali’s bio in that same booklet credits her not only with founding her law firm’s Abu Dhabi office, but also with the firm’s Islamic Finance Group.
The World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC –formerly the Organization of Islamic Conference)
In its own words, the OIC “is the collective voice of the Muslim world and ensuring to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world…”. The OIC which works cooperatively with theMuslim Brotherhood, represents the 56 (57 if you include the Palestinian Authority) Muslim majority countries and is also the largest voting bloc in the United Nations. The objectives, principles and “fundamental purposes” of the OIC is to “…strengthen the solidarity and cooperation among the Member States… The Organization has the singular honor to galvanize the Ummah into a unified body…”
“Based on the views and recommendations of scholars and intellectuals, convinced of the potential for the Muslim Ummah to achieve its renaissance, and in order to take practical steps towards strengthening the bonds of Islamic solidarity, achieve unity of ranks, and project the true image and noble values of Islam and its civilizational approaches, a Ten-Year Programme of Action has been developed…”
While the OIC did not coin the term “Islamaphobia” (that was done by the Muslim Brotherhood front group the International Institute for Islamic Thought [IIIT]), included in the 10 year plan was the goal to, “…have the United Nations adopt an international resolution to counter Islamophobia, and call upon all States to enact laws to counter it, including deterrent punishments.” In other words, impose Shariah blasphemy laws and punishments internationally.
The OIC has pushed for this U.N. resolution since 2005, and sure enough, this year the U.N. Human Rights Council passed Resolution 16/18 which criminalizes the criticism of Islam. To no big surprise, the U.S. State Department met privately with OIC representatives to discuss the implementation of Resolution 16/18.
The World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) started as the OIC Business Forum, which was held in 2003, in conjunction with the tenth OIC Summit in Malaysia. The OIC convened the Business Forum to “create a business ‘face’ of the OIC” and in keeping with the 10 year plan, to discuss opportunities for business partnerships in the Muslim world. The second OIC Business Forum was convened in 2004, resulting in the World Islamic Economic Forum.
Among the corporate members of the WIEF, two in particular, stand out – the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the Islamic Development Bank of Saudi Arabia (IDB).
The IDB, established by the OIC, conducts its business in accordance with Shariah law. Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al Madani has been the bank’s first president since 1975. He also served as the Secretary General of the Muslim World League, a Saudi government controlled and funded organization that (according to “Discover the Networks), promotes extremist Wahabbai Islam, whose Pakistan office employed al-Qaeda operatives, and which supervised a charity that knowingly funded terrorist groups.
With regard to the MCB, in 2009, the British government severed its relationship with the MCB (at that time Britain’s largest Muslim group), because its deputy Secretary-General signed onto a declaration, which among other things supported the smuggling of arms into Gaza to support Hamas and in opposing the 2002 Arab peace initiative, called upon the “Islamic Nation” to “carry on with the jihad and resistance against the occupier until the liberation of all Palestine”.
Given Governor Haslam’s actions to date regarding the establishment of the Tennessee American Muslim Advisory Council and now his appointment of Ms. Ali, is he preparing Tennessee to follow the economy building example of Illinois and its Governor – Muslim American Advisory Council partnership? Next week on June 26, 2012, Governor Quinn, his Muslim Advisory Council and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce will hold a reception to “learn about growth opportunities for Illinois businesses in Gulf Cooperation Council countries” (see attached flyer). Sounds like they could use the services of a lawyer like Ms. Ali.
TCPJ Newsletter #19 – June 17, 2012
GOVERNOR HASLAM CAN’T SEEM TO GET HIS STORY STRAIGHT regarding Ms. Samar Ali’s appointment to the Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commission. The problem seems to be that the Governor is deliberately trying to publicly obscure known, relevant and easily-found-on-the-internet facts about Ms. Ali’s areas of legal expertise and political involvement.
For example, the White House seemed to think her expertise in Shariah Compliant Finance was important enough to include in the White House bio that was published when Ms. Ali was appointed as a White House fellow:
“Samar Ali is an Associate with the firm Hogan Lovells US LLP. She is responsible for counseling clients on mergers & acquisitions, cross-border transactions, Shari’a compliant transactions, project finance, and international business matters…..She is a founding member of the first U.S. Delegation to the World Islamic Economic Forum…”
The Global Islamic Finance Magazine also proudly noted:
“President Obama has announced his appointment of Shariah Finance Specialist Samar Ali to serve as one of the 13 fellows of the White House. Ms Samar Ali is an attorney who specialises on Islamic Shariah compliant finance and regularly advises clients on Islamic transactions and was founding member of first U.S delegation to the World Islamic Economic Forum.”
Putting aside Ms. Ali’s professional experience and political endeavors, perhaps Tennesseans should be most concerned about what the Governor’s office has instructed legislators to relay to anyone who inquires:
“She is a Vanderbilt graduate, a Vanderbilt law student. She is from Waverly, Tennessee and has been hired by the State of Tennessee. She was employed by one of the nations top law firms after graduating Vanderbilt University. She was part of the White House Fellows Program which is a non partisan internship program. She was with the National Security Council. She was cleared by the US Intelligence Agency as no threat to the US. Her job was to work with companies that are having trouble working with companies abroad. She was very good at this because of her understanding of different cultures. Nathan Buttery with the Governor’s office, said he would be happy to clear up anything that may upset you with this issue.”
Then the Governor had this to say as reported by News Channel 5:
“When asked about his stance on the issue, Haslam said that freedom of religion is guaranteed in our country, and that he looked forward to working with Ms. Ali.
“Samar is a highly qualified person, who has taken a role with our Economic Development Department . She comes with a great track record and a lot of experience and we think she’ll be a great employee for the state of Tennessee,” said Haslam.
Samar Ali’s appointment should concern Tennesseans for a number of reasons, least of all calling into question the credibility of any information coming from the Governor’s office.
There is much more information to follow. In the meantime, shouldn’t the Governor’s office be held accountable to at least be honest with the Tennesseans that put him in office?