The Right Opinion

A Sharia Financier in the TN Governor's Office

Making Tennessee a more Sharia-compliant place to do business.

By Arnold Ahlert · Dec. 4, 2012

In Tennessee last May, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam appointed Samar Ali as international director of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD). Attempts to connect her to stealth jihad have been ridiculed. Yet when one connects the dots between Ali and several organizations and individuals, a number of troubling relationships arise, especially regarding the phenomenon known as Sharia-compliant finance (SCF).

SCF is best explained by Deroy Murdock in a 2008 column: “Turn your clock back 70 years. Imagine that Wall Street banks and brokerages sold Nuremberg-compliant bonds and stock funds in 1938,” he writes. “American Nazi sympathizers bought financial instruments certified by Berlin-based advisors as free of 'Jewish profits' from, say, Salomon Brothers and Bloomingdale's.”

That's the first half the equation. Then comes the far more important second half. “In turn, a percentage of such funds' gains underwrote pro-Nazi charities, like the German-American Bund, and similar organizations in the Fatherland, like the Hitler Youth.” In short, Murdock is using an apt analogy to illuminate the true nature of SCF: it is a money-laundering operation used to underwrite international terrorism.

Samar Ali was appointed as a member of the 2010-2011 class of White House Fellows. Her bio noted that she was an associate with the firm Hogan Lovells US LLP, responsible for counseling clients on mergers and acquisitions, cross-border transactions and Sharia-compliant financial transactions. In fact, the Hogan law firm specializes in SCF, calling it “one of the fastest growing financial sectors” in the world, with projections reaching more than $2.8 trillion by 2015. “Robust demand has led to new challenges for the Islamic finance industry…Indeed, many eminent Sharia scholars commonly recommend us to financial institutions that approach them for advice,” the firm reveals.

The White House press release also noted that Ali is “a founding member of the first U.S. Delegation to the World Islamic Economic Forum” (WIEF). The Shariah Finance Watch blog noted, “[I]t was at the World Islamic Economic Forum where key leaders declared Shariah finance to be 'dawa' (missionary) activity to promote Islam and Shariah.”

Listed as a member of the WEIF's International Advisory Panel is Saleh Abdullah Kamel, who is also a founding member of the Al Shamal Islamic Bank. The Al Shamal Islamic Bank was established by Osama bin Laden to fund jihadists and terrorism across the globe. Furthermore, the WEIF is a subsidiary of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The OIC is a bloc of 57 Muslim countries currently pressuring Western countries to make criticism Islam or Mohammed an international crime. Such suppression of free speech is another integral part of Sharia law.

Ali also worked as a legal intern for the Islamic International Arab Bank (IIAB) where she “rotated through various banking units,” gaining exposure to SCF products and related contracts. According to its website, the IIAB “commenced its banking operations in accordance with Islamic Sharia rules” in 1998. According to Der Spiegel, the bank offered a type of life insurance payable to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. “The funds take a circuitous route to the accounts of those families that prove the death of their son by showing a death certificate at the Arab Bank branch in the Palestinian Territories,” the article states.

When Ali was appointed, several GOP county organizations criticized Gov. Haslam for allowing her to work in his administration, with at least two passing resolutions asserting a link between Ali and SCF. Like others, they were undoubtedly concerned that Ali's appointment might make Tennessee an attractive place to conduct Sharia-compliant financial transactions.

Yet for making such information known, and opposing her appointment, Ali's critics were attacked. “In Tennessee, A Rising Star Targeted By Anti-Muslim Smears,” is the title of an article that completely dismisses such concerns, especially those made by the “Frank Gaffney-led Center for Security Policy – a hub of Islamophobia,” as completely without merit. Another article refers to any criticism of Ali's appointment as “McCarthy-esque dot-connecting” similar to “the paranoia in Washington, D.C.” regarding charges made against Hillary Clinton's aide, Huma Abedin, and her association with the Muslim Brotherhood. (That Huma Abedin's mother belongs to the Muslim Sisterhood is apparently irrelevant.)

Also apparently irrelevant are the questionable associations of Samar Ali's father, Dr. Subhi Ali. From 2005 until the present, Dr. Ali has served as the Chairman of the Jerusalem Fund. On its website, the Jerusalem Fund claims it is “an independent, non-profit, non-political, non-sectarian organization based in Washington, D.C.” Yet the language used to describe its programs reveals a distinctly anti-Israeli slant, emphasizing such concepts as the Palestinian “Right of Return,” and referring to Israel as “the Occupied Territory.” Articles on the site also refer to Israel's occupation of Palestine, Israeli “apartheid,” and how the two-state solution is “morally debased' and "antiquated.” The site attempts to obscure its biased agenda with a disclaimer at the bottom of each article, stating that such views “do not necessarily reflect those of The Jerusalem Fund.”

Yet the Fund has also been associated with several people and organizations with links to terrorism. Its founder, Dr. Hisham Sharabi, PhD., was on the Board of Trustees of World and Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE), an organization incorporated by Sami Al-Arian as an Islamic think tank. Al-Arian was sentenced to 57 months in jail for conspiracy to “make or receive funds…for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad” (PIJ). Tarik Hamdi, identified as an officer/staff member of WISE, is listed in a federal affidavit as providing material support to Al-Qaeda, Bin Laden and the PIJ.

Other WISE board members include Taha Jabir al Alwani, an unindicted co-conspirator in the same Holy Land Foundation case that resulted in Al-Arian's conviction; Basheer Nafi, who was charged with “conspiracy to murder, maim or injure persons outside the United States;" Ramadan Abdullah, aka Ramadan Shallah, on the FBI's Most Wanted List as a "Specially Designated Terrorist;” and Mazin an Najjar, a founding member of WISE, arrested on secret FBI evidence revealing his support for terrorism.

Yet as far as “see no Islamic evil” politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, Americans in general, and Tennesseans in particular, are supposed to believe that Samar Ali was either completely unaware of these associations, or that none of them are germane with regard to her position as a director of Tennessee's ECD. Moreover, none of these associations should be questioned, criticized or investigated – lest one be branded Islamophobic for daring to do so.

In the prevailing political climate, such an attitude is to be expected. During the presidential campaign, Americans were told by President Obama that al-Qaeda is “on the run,” even as four Americans were murdered in Benghazi, and the ensuing disinformation campaign blaming it on a video was perpetrated by a willing media. The “Arab Spring” has been an equally enduring myth that is rapidly coming undone, as Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi brutally consolidates his Muslim Brotherhood-dominated dictatorship. The administration now considers it “feasible” to move Guantanamo Bay terrorists to U.S. prisons, even as potential terror attacks to free them are ignored. Thus, for the true believers, the potential of Sharia finance occurring in Tennessee, or anywhere else in the country for that matter, is nothing more than the stuff of overwrought imaginations “Islamophobia.”

In an essay entitled “Islamic Finance or Financing Islamism,"Alex Alexiev, senior analyst with the national security division of the Rand Corporation, contends that if Western banks endorse Sharia finance, they will "end up becoming what Lenin called useful idiots or worse to the Islamists. And it is a very thin line between that and outright complicity in the Islamist agenda.” When the only reasons for endorsing Sharia fiance come down to willful blindness, or outright collaboration with Islamic terror, America's political priorities are seriously out of whack.

Arnold Ahlert is a columnist for FrontPage Magazine.

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9 Comments

Ct-Tom in NC said:

The unhappy truth is that nobody cares about all this. Is anyone in a position to do something about it listening? No.

I read AA's and Marita Noon's columns, well researched pieces documenting the selling of our very souls, and can only think that all of this information will be stored on the hard drives in the junkyard across the street from Thunderdome.

If Fast and Furious, Benghazi, and the release of top secret information by our own administration for political advantage don't result in "consequences," what chance do these more subtle acts of treason have?

There seems to be only the crash-and-burn left. Maybe a new and brighter day will follow the dark times ahead.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

Just keep in mind that our lamestream media and most Demorats still consider Islam a "Peaceful Religion". These idiots have their heads so deep in the sand they will never see the truth until its too late.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 9:35 AM

wjm in Colorado said:

The only thing that will wake the Democrat Marxists will be mushroom clouds over American Cities. The silver lining of the clouds, is that so many Democrat operatives will be taken out by them. I can only hope Washington DC is one of the targets.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Gregory in Yakima Wa. said:

Stoking the fires of hate...truly lamentable. A good person smeared by those who know better.
"Eric Lach July 19, 2012, 11:31 AM 19900

On September 13, 2001, Vanderbilt University held a “Come Together” ceremony on campus, as the community was just starting to process the horror of the 9/11 attacks. At the ceremony, a junior political science major stood up in front of thousands of her fellow students to deliver a speech.

“When I saw my country’s buildings come tumbling down with thousands of my fellow citizens on Tuesday, I felt angry as an American at whoever did this,” Samar Ali said. She continued: “The other part of me felt upset as a Muslim… I want everyone to know that Arabs and Muslims around the world condemn this act… We cannot let these terrorists succeed and fill our hearts with hatred. We cannot allow them to split us apart as Americans.”

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

Yes, They condemned it by dancing in the streets and burning our flag. Yessir, Keep on believing that carp and drinking the koolaid. I noticed you didn't refute the premise of the article. Did you really except any liberal to say anything bad about a Moslem? You are one sick little boy!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Gregory in Yakima Wa. said:

You, I, we, can easily see the stomach turning betrayals of good people destroyed by Soviet, Chinese and other fanatical monstrosities of government. But here in the great United States where it is easy to research and find facts....you kids don't bother. You are irresponsible and disgusting.

I hope your peers speak out against hatred and lies. "State officials, including Haslam, have stood by Ali. Clint Brewer, assistant commissioner for communications for ECD, told TPM earlier this week that Ali is “one of the brightest leaders of her generation from this state.” And some of the people who know Ali best told TPM they are shocked by the smears."

“I think she’s one of the real stars who has graduated from Vanderbilt during the now 21 years I’ve been here,” David Weintraub, an associate professor of astronomy at Vanderbilt who served on a university committee with Ali, told TPM. “She’s a real mover and shaker. Doing all the things all of us would love young people in the country now to be doing. Positive things for our communities. Working with people. Bringing them together.”

According to Liz Katkin, a former partner at Hogan Lovells who was Ali’s boss in Abu Dhabi, Ali spoke often about her desire to go back to Tennessee. Ali grew up in the small town of Waverly, population 4,028, about an hour and a half drive west of Nashville. Her mother immigrated to the United States from Syria when she was 26. Her father left the West Bank when he was 17. Both are doctors."

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 12:18 PM

wjm in Colorado replied:

Gregory, you mentally deficient dolt, please book a trip to mecca, and hug a jihadi today, that they will speed you on your way to hell..

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

Still no refuting the accusations made about Ali. You are one infantile baby trying to play in the grown-ups playpen.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

Moving away from Club Guantanamo, better hire a classified yacht, cause the boat might not make it, to American shores matee! Remember Ahmed Kalfan Ghalaini!!! Guilty on only ONE COUNT of MURDER, while put on civilian trial here in NYC, by Eric Holder (chip on his shoulder)Captain Horatio Hornblower--Extreme Patriot/Sailor.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 4:57 PM