It is unfortunate that Sam Omatseye could ignorantly posit that the spirit of capitalism came from Christians-evidence of lazy research and a drifting mind, which imagines poetic grandeur.
Some even say that the early Christians inspired communism by sharing their worldly possessions. But a brief research of history will simply show that what is now referred to as capitalism or profit making in business, and the concept of personal property have existed since time immemorial. It is true that the Protestants (and perhaps most religions) abhors laziness and promotes hard work, a theme taken to heart by Calvinists.
But this is not tantamount to encouraging greed or excessive, usurious and cut-throat interest rates on loans, the likes of which the Central Bank of Nigeria, under Sanusi Lamido (who is not a Calvinist) approves. How about greatly lowering the current interest rates on loans to just a few points above the current minuscule interest rates on deposits in Nigeria?Neither Protestants nor Calvinists created or inspired capitalism, and capitalism is certainly better than feudalism or communism. Islamic banking is not the bogey that many fear it to be. Omatseye’s gratuitous celebration of ignorance and Sanusi’s provocative posturing and grandstanding add more fuel to a needless fire, when what is needed is calm and thorough analysis, with an education of the public. The interest-based regular banking system has not been eliminated in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, Libya, Pakistan, etc. Pakistan, and where Osama Bin Laden was killed, remains a recipient of billions of dollars of aid from the West. It seems humans the world over don’t want to abandon profit or interest.The core of Islamic banking is the prohibition of Riba, which means ‘usury’ or ‘interest’ or ‘excess’ or ‘addition’, but this interpretation of Riba has not been universally accepted or applied in the Islamic world. A school of Islamic thought argues for an interpretative differentiation between usury, or consumptional lending on the one hand, and interest, or lending for commercial investment on the other. Thus, it may be proper to charge interest on loans advanced for commercial investment purposes. Even if ‘interest’ is totally eliminated, it is almost impossible to eliminate ‘addition’ in modern times in view of running costs and overheads, inflation, staff salaries, etc, and in Nigeria, generator and diesel costs. This is why Islamic banks, just like regular banks, charge fixed fees and demand for collateral on loans. But while Islamic banks may not charge ‘interest’, they charge ‘mark-ups’ and also ‘partake in the profits generated by the lender according to a pre-determined proportion’. By and large, Islamic banks make monetary gain from lending out funds, and sometimes lose if the business venture fails, just like regular banks (toxic loans), especially where collateral is insufficient or non-existent due to sharp practices or negligence. It is not a charitable business. They never lend out X amount and receive the same amount. The key difference may simply be the higher rates of interest charged by the regular banks, but some Islamic banks in Pakistan have been found to effectively make higher financial demands on their customers without referring to percentages of interest. If Omatseye, plainly a sufferer from hubris, who seems to thrive on creating needless controversy, perhaps in a deep-seated and vain desire to be relevant/acknowledged as intelligent had conducted more enquiry with an open mind, instead of giving free reign to idle imagination based on his illogical, bigoted, incorrect and neurotic anti-Protestant prejudices, he would have found that, for example, in Pakistan, where Islamic banking is practised alongside regular banking, there are serious problems in its proper application in accordance with scriptural principles and Sharia. This is because some banks raise and maintain funds for Islamic banking by trading in the regular banking system and money markets for profit, a contradiction of sorts. And some Islamic banks engage in profit, which they justify as being in accord with Modarabah, Musharika, Ijarah, etc conventions, and in Malaysia, they have the problem of Islamic banks that invest in ‘Haram’ products i.e. gaming and lottery industries, which are surefire profit makers, phenomenon strongly condemned by some Islamic Imams and Mullahs. The love of money, usury inclusive, remains the root of all evil. Source: http://www.tribune.com.ng/index.php/letters/26321-omatseyes-ignorance-about-protestant-ethics-islamic-banking