News / Africa

Islamic Banking Divides Nigerian Religious Leaders

School children walk past a mosque in central Maiduguri, capital of Borno State (July 2010 file photo)
School children walk past a mosque in central Maiduguri, capital of Borno State (July 2010 file photo)

Nigeria is introducing Islamic banking to bring more of the nation's estimated 70 million Muslims into the economy. But many prominent Christian leaders say it will further inflame religious violence.

How it works

Islamic law prohibits paying or receiving interest or investing in businesses that provide goods or services that are contrary to Islamic principles.

That has led to the creation of interest-free, Islamic banking in more than 50 nations where customers share in profits and losses. In an Islamic mortgage, for example, the bank buys the house then resells it at a higher price, allowing the new homeowner to pay in installments.

Ziyad Muhammad of the Islamic Finance Institute of South Africa says Islamic banking is about creating wealth for the community.

“The ultimate objective is to ensure that anything that is introduced by the entrepreneur is done for the benefit of the community at large,” he said.

Muhammad took part in a Central Bank of Nigeria conference meant to counter Christian opposition to the introduction of Islamic banking.

Christian criticism

The Christian Association of Nigeria says the move violates the country's secular constitution and comes at a dangerous time when security forces are battling Islamic fundamentalists who are fighting for an independent nation ruled by Islamic law.

At the St. Peter Claver Catholic church, Father Paul Anyansi recognizes the potential economic benefits of Islamic banking but believes its dangers are far greater.

“We have too many religious tensions in terms of Islam against Christians. So it could stir up more. This is not the time for it," he said. "The policies for Islamic banking are good in the sense where there is no loan and interest. It doesn't go against the beliefs of the Islams. But what we are trying to say is that this country is not mature for it now.”

Father Anyansi says Christian leaders understand that Islamic banking works in other countries and might eventually work in Nigeria, but not right now.

“It could be as effective as it is England, as it is in America, as it is in Malaysia or countries where it is operated. But for now, we are still growing. A lot of people are not accepting their brother as their brother. They are not accepting the differences between religions. It will create more problems than more gains,” he said.

Secular vs Islamic

Human rights activist Oke Adheke says Nigeria can not run on both a secular system and an Islamic system.

“The moment they gave it a religious coloration it is not good for this country. Islamic banking by the name is not good for this country. Let them give us banking products that they believe are good for the ordinary man. The problem with this country is that we introduce too many funny things and tell stories about them, yet they don't work,” said Adheke.

Banker Solomon Osiobe says people are afraid of Islamic banking because it is new, but he believes it can help the economy if everyone understands its rules.

“Let's give it a chance because it has its advantages and disadvantages. If the rules are set out to be followed by the people who are to be served and there is public alertment, this banking system can go on,” he said.

Alternative

In this time of religious tension, Jaiz International Bank's Mohammed Mustapha Bintube says, Nigeria needs an alternate method of financing based on fairness, equity, and transparency.

“Islamic banks also, deliberately, we don't finance anything that is harmful to society. So we only look for projects that make positive impact in people's lives,” he said.

Nigeria's Conference of Islamic Organizations says opposition to Islamic banking is ignorant and insincere as it says some political leaders are trying to link Islamic financing to terrorism at a time when London and Paris are competing to be the center of Islamic banking.

The Christian Association of Nigeria says it will challenge the introduction of Islamic banking in court.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid