Thursday, September 29, 2011

NY Law School Symposium "Sharia in America" Umar F. Moghul (Audio Day 2)

FINALLY! For those who are interested, the last three speakers of the "Sharia in America" Symposium will be completed and posted .

Part 8 of 10 - Aug 26, 2011 (Day 2) of an 8 hour Symposium at NY Law School Law Review On "Sharia in America:Principle and Prospects". The purpose was to examine the place of Islamic Law in The United States.

Notes from Professor Reza's intro of Professor Umar F. Moghul (Sharia Finance)

Professor Moghul was recruited late for the Symposium. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law and a full-time practitioner from the firm of Murtha Cullina LLP. where he   is Chair of Islamic Law and Investment Practice. Professor Moghul has published articles on how Islamic Finance is practiced here in the U.S.and the legislation that addresses it.

Our speaker, Professor Umar F. Moghul

Notes from Professor Moghul's 20 minute presentation 

He assumes that by now (in the symposium)we have an understanding of the Social and Political Climate and as to how Sharia Finance is done...

Moghul continues in his opening Statement: 

Among the challenges that have come about to Sharia in this environment of Islamophobia, is a (..unclear...) challenge to Islamic Finance; to Islamic Investment Transactions in the U.S. as far as implementing or enforcing Sharia Finance into the United States. This does not mean that the U.S. not not welcome Sharia Finance...on the contrary, the U.S. has been an important market although perhaps not a large market, globally speaking....

Points he feels need to be addressed in his presentation:

" First, Islamic Finance is part of Islamic Law which is then part of Sharia, a term which he does not translate as  Islamic Law. It's much more than Law....

If he were to try to translate Sharia, it is the proper balance maintained between religious and temporal  aspects of the religion. The ultimate purpose, the higher purpose of Islam as a religion, thus Islam as Law, is worship of the Divine ....( at this point the slides begin)....

This purpose of Obedience and Worship of the Divine kind of comes in to Islamic Finance as well... Socially Responsible Investing. Gambling, Pornography typically are prohibited as targets of investment. (he mentions riba - interest)

Another misconception is how Islamic Law applies to people of other faiths. He submits it is not wholly applicable to people of other faiths. How this applies to Islamic comes up if one of the parties is Islamic ( as in multi-family apartment buildings). The problems come up due to lack of information and lack of education....

....within the broad purpose of Sharia Law is to prevent harm, securing benefits, preservation and protection of 5 specific values, that include life and religion ( specific to property) which is one of the 5 objectives of Sharia

He the continues discussing 
  • Markets (foreign and retail)
  • Sharia seeks fairness Protect Integrity
  • Sukuk (Islamic certificate/bond)
  • Alternative Investment
  • Compatibility and Compliance within the framework of the Law
  • Legal tensions- venues and resolution
  • Courts and arbitration- who decides
  • flexibility with those who have knowledge of Islamic law

The Q and A (is about 25 minutes. The first brief question is basically off-mic)

This is just after lunch break and the group didn't seem focused on asking questions, so those who are asking questions are often Professor Stilt, Professor Reza, Professor Quraishi and Professor Vogel.

Professor Moghul gave long responses in the Q and A (what follows are some of my notes )

Q: classical contract; substance over form; western credit crisis 
A: Greed, desires create debt- must live within our means 
  • Many faiths are working in Sharia Finance. Finds this wonderful 
  • We gain respect/get along 
  • Islamic investment tends to be in real estate

Q(Prof Stilt) 
Private ownership is not foreign to Islamic law
Profit is encouraged

Q ( Prof Vogel)
Bank buys home, sells it to him at a mark-up, why is this so unique?
Islamic Law and Intellectual Properties (explain)

Q - Moslem World escaping collateral obligations (Norway, Canada)

Q - ( Asifa Quraishi)

AUDIO of Professor Moghuls's presentation (with slides)and the Q and A: (because the audience microphone wasn't always used, this caused an occasional rustling noise when I had to reposition the hyper-sensitive audio recorder to catch the questions)

Two slides at 20:32 and 20:44 were actually from Prof. Reza's presentation that follows this.
The Sharia Symposium continues with two more speakers. Professor Sadiq Reza (Criminal Law) then concludes with a Plenary Discussion.  
AND please follow link below to a fabulous article on the symposium written by Alyssa Lappen "Sharia Lobby Shifts into Fifth Gear" 


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