The title of this post is a bit adversary. It wouldn’t be unusual to expect this to be an attack on Islam but it’s not.
The Abrahamic religions began as popular movements at a time when commercial economies were having large, transformative effects on societies. As a result they encode a lot of rules designed to control the economy with a view to protecting people from some of its negative effects.
There is, at the moment, a lot of anti-islamic rhetoric bubbling up through both the media and public discourse. In the UK there has been a lot of panic over the idea of Sharia being implemented here. Why individual people are afraid of Sharia is one thing, but why the anti-Sharia persuasion is being perpetuated by the media is another. The media is, after all, an industry, and does whatever it does for the same reason any industry does what it does: profit.
So why is the establishment so offended by the idea of Islam while perfectly happy with everyone being Christian? Is it just a strategy to reinforce us-and-them thinking? It’s telling that some of the concerns raised over implementing Sharia based community courts were never raised for the Jewish equivalent.
What if there is more to it than straight-forward us-and-them thinking? What if there are things in the content of Sharia itself that represent a threat to the status-quo?
1) Usury: Interest baring loans are forbidden. Further, as a general principal, anyone lending should be exposed to the risk associated with the activity that the money is used for.
2) Ownership of natural resources: all natural resources are owned by everyone equally. Privatisation of such resources is forbidden.
3) If a seller in any way manipulates someone into buy something the buyer can revoke the transaction post hoc.
4) Derivative and option markets are seen as gambling and forbidden.
If these principals were upheld our current global economic system would be impossible.