What would you say if there were a single, very specific policy change one could make with the potential to seriously degrade the power and influence of jihadis?
And what if I told you that it was the sort of strategy which even the staunchest pacifist could happily support? One that did not put a single Western citizen in harm’s way? What if a side benefit of this policy were to breathe new life into the economies of North America, revitalizing a major industry, and increasing the number of well-paying jobs? Would you be interested?
Before I offer the solution, let’s properly identify the problem. While there are a great many muslims in mosques who want nothing more than to leave the troubles of their homelands behind them, and start fresh in a land where everyone is equal, not all mosques share that view of the world. Some mosques have been hijacked by the more aggressive and virulent strains of Islam, even if they did not begin with that view.
One factor causing this shift toward radical views includes sponsorship from abroad. Financial assistance is offered to mosques that need some financial help. Help is offered by providing, for example, educational materials for an Islam-friend curriculum. The curriculum they offer, in at least some cases, is the kind we *really* don’t want them teaching to impressionable children. This financial connection gives these Wahabbi or similar sects influence and relationships they would not have otherwise had.
When we look at the numerous, large Islamic community centers, mosques, and similar buildings being erected around the world, especially in the West, it should be a concern to us that many of these sponsorships will be coming from Islamic sects such as Wahabbi (think Al-Qaeda) and similar groups.
Can you really believe that sponsorship by a particular branch of Islam would not actively promote their particular view of Islam?
So that’s the problem. A foreign financier is giving significant financial handouts to mosques around the world to spread the Islamicist view of Islam. What can be done about it?
First, we should identify where that money is coming from. It might surprise you to learn that a lot of that money is coming from us. Which is to say, we (the West) are actively financing Islam to proselytize us. How can I possibly claim that?
We have a habit of thinking about the world in Western terms, that can sometimes make us overlook important details about life elsewhere, or lead us to some wrong conclusions.
For example, in the West, there is a concept of charitable giving. This includes, among other things, giving to the Church. The way it works here is simple. A person decides how much they feel like donating (some like to tithe 10%, some give much less, some give much more). Sometimes they pick up a charitable donation receipt. And that’s that.
At least some Muslim countries have both a legal and religious obligation to provide a minimum percentage of income as religions donation to the Mosque. The Zakat (fourth pillar of Islam) commands 2.5% of one’s wealth to be given as an offering yearly. Think about the enormous sums of money we spend there, for example, on oil alone. Think about cities like Dubai where the roads have more “supercars” than Hondas or Fords. What does 2.5% of that wealth look like? Where is it being spent?
It’s no secret that Saudi Arabia is a fountainhead for Wahabbism. In fact one expert says the rise of ISIS was the direct consequence of Wahabbi influence from Saudi Arabia. The article says that estimates for how much they have spent spreading their influence in the last three decades is into the hundreds of billions of dollars, perhaps higher.
Where are they getting this wealth? We buy their oil, and the mosques get a cut.
What if we made the single small change of sourcing our oil elsewhere? What if we intentionally sourced our Oil primarily from America, Canada, and other Western-friendly nations which not only aren’t funding violence, but these nations are abiding by far better employment, equality, and environmental standards then any nations that pay the Zakat.
Not only might this dramatically reduce Wahabbism’s (etc) reach and influence, but it would give a real boost to the energy sector in North America. It would create jobs, and wealth for our nation, rather than someone else’s.
There would be no need to put “boots on the ground” to enforce this, because we would not even need to put an embargo on anyone. We would simply put a priority on using Zakat-free oil sources.
If we begin to see “Zakat-Oil” with the same horror we have attached to “blood diamonds” we might actually be able to — peacefully even — reduce Wahabbism’s income sources internationally. Even places like Russia might be persuaded to get their own allies to play along, since Russia would directly benefit from being a preferred (non-Zakat) energy supplier.
The comment section is open for any thoughts or improvements you might offer to this proposal.