Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich has announced plans to formally introduce Sharia Compliant Islamic Financing in Kenya. Speaking at the International Islamic Finance Conference Africa (IIFCA) which was held in Nairobi on the 25th of January, the Cabinet Secretary said that the government planned to introduce legislation that will allow for Islamic Financing. Islamic Financing refers to a system of banking activities that are consistent with Islamic Sharia Law. It prohibits the charging of interest on loans, fixed deposits and mortgages. Mr. Rotich said that with major infrastructure developments coming up, the government was looking to access the cheaper loans available under Islamic Financing Model. It is estimated that Islamic Finance has about $2.1 Trillion in banking assets.
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is a multilateral development financing institution that operates like a world bank for its member states. It offers loans and sukuk (Islamic Bonds) that have been structured in such a way that makes them compliant to Islamic Sharia Law. A country has to be a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to be able to get financing from the IDB. Consequently, Mr. Rotich announced that the government has began the process of adding Kenya to the OIC group of countries.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation is an International Organization that was founded in 1969. It currently has 57 member states, 27 of which are in Africa. The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union. According to its Charter, the OIC aims to preserve Islamic Social and Economic values and to promote solidarity between member states. The Charter also speaks of promoting and preserving Islamic teaching, promoting Islamic Culture and defending the true image of Islam. This has a number of consequences for its Member States. For example in 2013, the previous Secretary General of the OIC, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu announced that the foreign ministers of member states would meet and discuss the possibility of cutting ties with any State that recognizes Jerusalem as the Capital City of Israel.
Paying close attention to the OIC Charter, it is clear that their agenda is to spread and consolidate Islam. Kenya is not an Islamic country. We need to ask ourselves, years down the line, what would be the consequence of joining the OIC? Would we get to a point where we need to concede some of our sovereignty in order to align with Islamic Principles? After taking money from the OIC group, how much wiggle room would the country have to say no if demands were made that the majority of the nation don't agree with? The OIC came to be in 1969 after an Arab coalition lost the Six Day War to Israel. Saudi Arabia wanted to unify Muslim and Arab states in what they called the "struggle for Islam". Deeply entrenched in their goals is to "Liberate Jerusalem" and to "support the struggle of the Palestinian People". Islamic Sharia Finance is a new weapon being used in the "struggle for Islam" whose end goal is to impose a worldwide submission to Islam. In line with this, there is evidence that the IDB has been channelling funds to groups such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. The IDB is meant to be a development bank, and between 1975 and 2005, it released $50 billion in funding to Muslim Countries, but little regional economic impact can be felt in those countries.
This feels like we are simply selling our souls to the highest bidder. We might realise too late that we have paid too high a price for access to cheap loans.