VOA news has reported that, adding that the decision has split the country’s religious leaders.

Islamic banking is an interest-free banking system that abides by the Shariah law which also prohibits investing in businesses that provide goods or services that violate Islamic principles.

Islamic Banking involves profit sharing which is termed “Mudarabah”, as well as advance purchase with later share at marked-up price, also termed “Murabaha”. It also includes what’s called “Ijarah” or long-term credit, and “Musharakah”, or equity sharing.

Nigeria is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states, mostly Muslim population, which makes the decision to start adopting Islamic banking system primarily relevant.

According to the Sun News Online, the Supreme Council for Shariah in Nigeria, SCSN, has stated that Nigerian Muslims were ready to go to war rather than give up the decision to bring forth Islamic banking to the country, ranked 37th in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) as of 2007.

On the other hand, Christian Association of Nigeria rejected the move saying it violates the country’s secular constitution, and warning that it will fuel the already deteriorating security situation in the country, where “ Islamic fundamentalists” fight for an independent nation ruled by Islamic law.

Father Paul Anyansi, St. Peter Claver from the Catholic church, while admitting the potential economic benefits of Islamic banking, thinks it poses more threats than benefits.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it had granted an approval in principle to Jaiz Bank International Plc to start following the Islamic banking system, to be the first bank in the country to be given such approval, according to This Daily Live online.

The Council presented its statement two days a through the group President, Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmad, who read the communiqué issued at the end of its meeting held at Arewa House, Kaduna, the Sun News Online further stated.

“We are very happy that with a lot of efforts Jaiz Bank has now become a reality. The company owning Jaiz has assured us that the bank is coming in September and they have assured us that they will be starting with three branches, namely Abuja, Kaduna and Kano. And they will continue to open the branches rapidly, thereafter. We are also aware of the amount of noise and nonsense we hear from the Christian clergy.

“They think they can blackmail the government, the Central Bank or the Muslim ummah to abandon the project. I want to assure them that nothing can stop the Jaiz Bank from coming into being because it’s being brought in according to the laws of Nigeria. There is nothing illegal about it. If they have a Christian bank that they want to establish, they have the freedom to bring it to the Central Bank and if they can prove their case, a Christian bank will be opened.

“And we are warning the government not to listen to them because there is a limit to the amount of nonsense we can take. We are the majority in this country, whether the Christians like it or not. We are going to have this bank and there is nothing they can do about it. We have taken a lot of nonsense, we have come to the end and from now it’s tit for tat.

“The activities of the Joint Task Force in Maiduguri are most unfortunate. The JTF is using an unbalanced force in its attempt to restore peace and order to Borno state. Innocent lives were killed, women are being raped and people’s property being plundered.

“The SCSN is watching carefully, plans by some politicians to bring back the issue of extended tenure of the present regime. This is very much similar to the thrown out third term bid of the former President Obasanjo. We call on all Nigerians to condemn and resist this attempt resolutely.

“As we are approaching the Holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are enjoined to participate in the moon sighting exercise, listen and obey announcements. Muslim businessmen and women are requested to be compassionate to their brothers and sister in the sales of commodities,” the SCSN said.

By: The Muslim Tribune Staff

Posted on: July 26, 2011