In splendor, in seduction and in grace,
The buildings of banks outsoar the Houses of God.
In appearance it is trade, in reality gambling,
Profit for one, for thousands sudden death,
Science, philosophy, college, constitution,
Preach man?s equality and suck men?s blood
Want and unemployment, lewdness and intoxication,
Are these mean triumphs of the Occident?
– Allama Iqbal : The Visionary Poet
[Note: This is a featured report on the speech given by David Pidcock at Sharjah College on 23rd Sep 2001.This is only a summarized text of the original speech. The writer has made a good effort to maintain maximum accuracy between the speech and the text given here.]
When the ‘Monetary Reformer from UK’ was invited to speak about the ‘Economic Aspect of Interest’ not everyone in the college, including the writer, anticipated such a tremendous response from the student audience. His speech, although coined in state-of-the-art economics jargon, enlightened many in the audience even those from a non-BBA discipline. It had the flavor of a ‘definitive economist’ preaching the gospel of Economics with a reformative endeavor. All through the speech, he tried to clear the widely believed notion that ‘Bank without interest is no bank at all’.
Hailing from a multi-religious background, David Pidcock’s mother is Christian while sister is Jewish. He converted to Islam in 1975. While introducing himself to the college students, he said jokingly, “We have a long weekend- Friday, Saturday and Sunday- at home’ apparently referring to the holidays prescribed in the three monotheistic faiths.
Before divulging into the intricacies of the problem of ‘interest used as a weapon of war’, Pidcock spoke about the historic developments in Britain’s monetary policy that followed the Glorious Revolution. In the words of a British economist, the revolution created a ‘Tribe of Bankers’ whose sole aim was to breed an economy based on the practice of interest.
He delved deeper into history as he referred to the status of ‘Usury’ in the primitive Christian and Jewish communities. Interest remained impermissible for the Children of Israel as they crossed the Red Sea. The usurers were not allowed burial in the churchyard in the earlier days of Christianity. Yet, we see interest becoming an essential element in any transaction happening in the west. Many were not aware that the Bank of England had lent millions of pounds to Hitler for his Nazi acts. ‘The British had permanent interests, not permanent principles’, he added.
While speaking about the emergence of the interest in United States, he pointed out that the nation had no debts until 1913 when the Federal Reserve as created. When Abraham Lincoln, the US president, subscribed to Ricardo’s theory of interest, the result was the issue of ‘green black dollar’.
The British economist took pride in admitting that it was the heritage of East that enlightened Western culture. ‘While the East was celebrating in philosophy and other sciences, my forefathers were living in the dark ages’ he said citing the 600 years of the golden era in Spain where the Jews, Christians and Muslims lived in harmony with each other. This, he claimed, was because there was no greed to accumulate wealth through interest.
The Mirror report on 11 September 2001: A strong evidence was deliberately removed during the trial of the suspects. He lamented the ignorance of experts and laymen alike regarding the interpretation of money given by Al Gazzali, the great visionary genius of the Muslim world. He had formulated a theoretical framework much earlier than Ricardo or Marx. According to this medieval scholar, money by itself ‘is worth no more than stones’ and that transactions are inevitable in a society which is what makes money important.
With regard to more recent historical developments in the field of monetary policy, Pidcock talked about Napoleon, the great legendary French conqueror, who embraced Islam in in 1798 while in Egypt. ‘Napoleon had realized that there will be no peace in Europe until Interest is out of the land and therefore he abolished interest in France. A wave of shock and surprise hung over the audience when he said that ‘Code Napoleon was a reflection of Imam Malik’s (The first school of thought in Islamic jurisprudence) compilation of Islamic law.
Lecturing further on the evils of interest, he said that Britain was suffering from Mortgage related issues. [In old French it means death pledge- Collins dictionary].
‘And to get out of this debt-ridden economy, it steals the wealth from other nations’ he said referring to the colonial crimes on third world countries. He also made reference to the huge interest that Britain had to pay for the debt made by an earlier monarch. For a mere 1.2 million debt, around 36 million pounds of interest has been paid so far!
He emphasized that it is the interest rate that leads to trade depression and NOT the other way round. He agreed with Abraham Lincoln when the latter says ‘I fear that a few affluent corporations will control the whole of America’.
Many raised eyebrows in amazement when he showed the ‘one-eyed symbol’ of free masonry on the American Dollar. He contended that the Free Mason’s activities were widespread and many would get involved in it without any knowledge of its intentions. The audience was taken by surprise when they heard that Tipu Sultan, who was the nightmare of colonial British in India, was overthrown by masonists.
About the alliance between Zionism and Free masons, the former was the pet product of the latter. He mentioned the belief of a group of Jews who consider it a grave sin to enter Jerusalem until a specific period. Therefore the Jews have no right to occupy that land of Palestinians by force. However, he said in a ironic manner that it was better for them to convert to Judaism, since the Jewish belief of liberating the slaves under them after every seven years.
As practical examples of interest-free scenario, he talked about government organizations that fund public works based on non-interest sources of money. This paved way for low taxation for the citizens.
The question-answer session saw a flood of queries as students tried to give vent to their doubts.
Some of the prominent questions raised were:
The very first question was posed from the writer himself.
‘The problem of interest basically revolves around the assumption that money is wealth by itself. But how can we prove theoretically that money is just means of transaction, as Imam Gazzali says. ?
The speaker in reply to the question gave a long quote from the work of Imam Gazzali and asserted that money be used as a means of exchange. Therefore Currency an interest-free economy does not favor currency trading. He expressed optimism that a single global currency would eliminate interest to a greater extend. He hoped that the Muslim countries too would follow the steps of Euro in a bid to have a single currency among them.
Second Question: How do we stay out of interest?
‘You have to be persistent. Like interest, there is alcohol and vices everywhere too. Yet you can stay away from them and not interest?’ The speaker called for a collaborative work among different communities as eliminating interest was in the interest of all faiths.
Third Question: You said that all the three monotheistic religions were against interest. Why don’t you try contacting the Vatican, the Ulema and the Rabbi for a coordinated effort?
‘You mean I have to do it again?’. The speaker then related the success stories of many organizations (up to 500 of them) working with a reformed monetary perspective focusing on interest-free dealings.
The ‘thankyou’ speech was said. The students rose from their seats. Some were seated on the floor due the rush…
Some remained in the room to further clear their doubts with the speaker…
And in my heart shone the memories of that Adorable Full Moon at Madina… Within a short period of 23 years, that Unlettered One’ had cleaned the hearts of tens of thousands of desert dwellers. With his Golden Heart he framed a golden society that Napoleon only dreamt of making…
There was none like him in the history of Mankind who succeeded in eliminating interest in all its forms: taking it, giving it, recording it or even witnessing it.
Interest is nothing but lust
Before it, Man is humbled like dust.
[ A former Roman Catholic, David Pidcock embraced Islam in 1975. His book Satanic Voices- Ancient and Modern is considered as a definitive reply to Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. His next publication is Dark Knights of the Solar Cross. This book is based on the confessions of G.B Smith, a former “Grand Baphomet” of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), rescinding Mr. Smith’s highly acclaimed earlier work Knights of the Solar Cross, showing the similarities and origins of witchcrafts, freemasonry and the occult New Age movement. Mr. Pidcock also cooperated with Martin short on Inside the Brotherhood (Further Secrets of Freemasons). He is currently editing The Other Road to Serfdom by the late Arthur Swan, a history of the abuse of money covering 60 years of economics and monetary policy. He also organized the translation from French into English of Napoleon et l’Islam by Christian Cherfils, published in 1914, which chronicles Napoleon Bonaparte’s conversion to Islam in 1798, leading to the Code Napoleon, the French civil law adaptation of Islamic law.]