Question – why Samar Ali as International Director?
Short answer – the Governor’s economic plan for Tennessee requires someone with professional credentials and credible presence in the Shariah finance world.
Commissioner Bill Haggerty announced this past Tuesday that he has refused Samar Ali’s offer to resign.
Both Governor Haslam and Commissioner Haggerty have all but said outright that they are looking to expand Tennessee’s commerce with Arabic Gulf states and as the Governor noted, “[Ali] 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.”
So the Governor chose someone whose foremost area of expertise is Shariah Compliant Finance, and who:
-is founding member of her firm’s Abu Dhabi office
-interned at the Islamic International Arab Bank
-is founding member and participant in first U.S. delegation to the World Islamic Economic Forum
-is considered an expert source on Shariah Compliant Finance for the International Bar Association
-is described by Global Islamic Finance magazine as “regularly advis[ing] clients on Islamic transactions”
-describes her own career as “practicing transactional law with a focus on the Middle East”
International Director Samar Ali will represent Tennessee, a state that has a documented Muslim Brotherhood presence and a Governor-approved Tennessee American Muslim Advisory Council.
According to the Quaran and Sunnah, and as confirmed by leading Islamic jurists through fiqh (the detailed interpretations of Shariah law), a Muslim may not sell or conduct transactions involving “impure” merchandise. Shariah law includes wine and pigs in the “impure” category and an additional prohibition against animal breeding (the sperm of stallions). The accuracy of these prohibitions has been attested to by the leading authority on Shariah finance in the U.S.
Can Ms. Ali fairly represent the TN Pork Producers and Jack Daniels Whiskies? Is she the ONLY possible choice for ECD’s International Director? She is if the goal is to pursue Shariah compliant transactions with the Arabic Gulf states.
The reason Shariah Compliant Finance (SCF) has been nicknamed as “the Trojan Horse of Shariah” is because SCF transactions are designed first and foremost, to promote and insinuate Shariah law into non-Muslim countries.
Governor Haslam is following the example of Illinois Governor Quinn – first set up the Muslim Advisory Council with folks tied to Muslim Brotherhood organizations, and then work to expand trade with the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries. The next step will be to appoint a Governor’s liaison to the Muslim community since Governor Quinn has been the first in the country to establish this office.
Tennessee has already exported goods such as cars to Saudi Arabia. Oman and Jordan have been identified among the “Fastest Changing Export Destinations” (meaning potential increase in export.) Shouldn’t the Governor be asking at what cost to Tennesseans in the end and aren’t all Tennessee producers entitled to equal representation by the International Director?
Potential markets and potential job expansion aside, does the Governor appreciate the course he is charting for Tennessee – embracing one aspect of Shariah and Islamist activists will make it practically impossible to deny the encroachment of political Shariah emerging in other states and other non-Muslim majority countries.
Aren’t all Tennesseans entitled to a Governor who is truthful about his intentions?
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.