Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An interesting editorial piece on the "Arab Money" remix, a rap song by hip-hop artists Busta Rhymes, T-Payne, Akon and others in which the first two ayat (verses) of the the opening sura (chapter) of the Qur'an are used as the hook (chorus) of the song.

"It's time that Muslim activists come together with a plan to do some serious outreach to Muslim rappers, who are part of the mainstream music industry but detached from the mainstream Muslim community. The recent Busta Rhymes' “Arab Money” remix that caused a brief uproar for not only using the term ”A-rab” as in the original version but also interpolating verses of the Qur'an in it is a prime example of how brothers and sisters “in da game” need to be pulled in." Read more...

Hailing from and having grown up in NYC, having witnessed the birth of hip-hop and key milestones in its history, knowing something about the interplay between hip-hop culture and Islam in NYC in the 90s, I believe that a very firm stance is required from the African-American Muslim community, in particular, on this issue and on the many harmful aspects hip-hop culture, "urban" culture and Blackamerican popular culture in general. I may be addressing these issues in greater detail in a few weeks. Stay tuned :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Given the appropriately intense scrutiny that conventional derivatives are under, in general, and the profound policy implications of increased adoption of derivative-like instruments by the shari`a-compliant financial services sector, I read with interest a recent media interview with Mr. Werner, Policy Director at the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), in which he mentioned that ISDA's collaboration with the International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) has produced a draft master agreement for Shariah compliant derivatives. The draft master agreement will reportedly be undergoing final Shari`a compliance review soon. As a student of some of the leading Islamic ethicists (fuqaha') who make up the IIFM's compliance review board, I am particularly interested in the board's decision on the validity of the structure that will apparently be used to implement the proposed profit swap, since it is not a matter of agreement among Islamic ethicists (fuqaha').