• Sharebar

This is a fascinating article from the NY Times featuring some of the cultural differences that Muslims face on Wall Street. It talks about the difficulty of working those long hours during Ramadan, the difference between what happens on Wall Street and Islamic Finance, and the general social differences between certain believers of Islam and their colleagues on the Street.

Quote:
Young Muslims, one of the newest groups to make inroads in American finance, can face steep barriers to entry. Some obstacles are remnants of a less tolerant era. But prominent, too, are the limitations of Islam itself — a faith whose tenets, Muslim workers say, often seem at odds with Wall Street’s sometimes bacchanalian culture. “I’m always the one drinking Diet Coke at happy hour,” Mr. Iqbal said.

So are there any Muslim monkeys or "muppies" (see article) out there on WSO? Has your religion ever affected your relationships with your colleagues or affected your work?

6

Comments (43)

  • Matthias's picture

    Correct me if I am wrong but doesn't Islam forbid earning interest and loaning money? Based on that it would seem that true Muslim monkeys would be at odds with their religious beliefs working in banking.

  • In reply to Matthias
    DrPeterVenkman's picture

    Matthias wrote:
    Correct me if I am wrong but doesn't Islam forbid earning interest and loaning money? Based on that it would seem that true Muslim monkeys would be at odds with their religious beliefs working in banking.

    See page 2 of the NY Times article.

  • In reply to Matthias
    OMS's picture

    Matthias wrote:
    Correct me if I am wrong but doesn't Islam forbid earning interest and loaning money? Based on that it would seem that true Muslim monkeys would be at odds with their religious beliefs working in banking.

    Islam forbids charging of interest and/or receiving interest. A pure advisory firm like Greenhill, Rothschild, Lazard, Harris Williams, Peter J Solomon, qatalyst partners etc don't do financing so there is no physical monetary transaction between your firm and the client that bears interest payments. Even though your work will revolve around interest/inflation and time value of money, the main goal of your job is to efficiently and effectively originate and execute deals, based on pure advice and no financial capital. It is in the grey area for M&A/industry groups at BBs or other full-service banks, since fees (revenues) are based on transaction value and not securities transactions, but I am not educated well enough on that domain so I will go no further.

    Now if you were a mortgage banker than that is a different story, since your job is to sell interest bearing securities/packages and is prohibited. Other include asset backed finance, corporate/commercial banking, fixed income derivatives, etc.

    But then again, this is western society and there is not a lot of ways to avoid it. For an example a Muslim engineer working at Google in some indirect way makes porn (which is also prohibited) easier to download. Actuaries (permitted) work in life insurance (which is prohibited). Real estate agents (from my knowledge is permitted) work closely with mortgage bankers. Waiter/Waitress trying to pay for school or family serving pork/alcohol at the restaurant he/she works at.I guess it all depends on good faith, no one is perfect.

  • Macro Arbitrage's picture

    Anyone who believes that Sharia financing is any different from charging interest is vastly misinformed.

  • In reply to Macro Arbitrage
    OMS's picture

    Macro Arbitrage wrote:
    Anyone who believes that Sharia financing is any different from charging interest is vastly misinformed.

    this. i've read into Islamic finance quite a bit and i dont see how its not the same concept as interest.

  • In reply to OMS
    UFOinsider's picture

    oldmansacks wrote:
    Macro Arbitrage wrote:
    Anyone who believes that Sharia financing is any different from charging interest is vastly misinformed.

    this. i've read into Islamic finance quite a bit and i dont see how its not the same concept as interest.


    The interpretation of Sharia will change according to the funding source of the person interpreting it. I'm shooting for more poo, have at it you intellectual flyweights. Ask yourself if you really want to know, and then proceed with caution.

    You think youR religion, or lack thereof, exempts you from reality?

    Get busy living

  • In reply to OMS
    Macro Arbitrage's picture

    oldmansacks wrote:
    Macro Arbitrage wrote:
    Anyone who believes that Sharia financing is any different from charging interest is vastly misinformed.

    this. i've read into Islamic finance quite a bit and i dont see how its not the same concept as interest.

    Gotta love fairy tales. The banking system in the middle east is a fucking joke.

  • In reply to Macro Arbitrage
    UFOinsider's picture

    Macro Arbitrage wrote:
    oldmansacks wrote:
    Macro Arbitrage wrote:
    Anyone who believes that Sharia financing is any different from charging interest is vastly misinformed.

    this. i've read into Islamic finance quite a bit and i dont see how its not the same concept as interest.

    Gotta love fairy tales. The banking system in the middle east is a fucking joke.


    BCCI = template for international MENA banking.

    Get busy living

  • Angus Macgyver's picture

    Interest is structured differently under Syariah law, but still works fundamentally the same way. One actual difference, though, is that banks run under Syariah law - you see a lot of these in Muslim countries like Indonesia, of course - must have pretty high "tier 1 capital" ratios. They don't exactly call it that, but that's pretty much what it is.

    Turns out that that was a pretty smart move, in the wake of '08.

  • XFS's picture

    Thank you for the share Op. I think the article has failed to point out that working on the street is not any different than working at ABN Amro or Standard Chartered in Pakistan [Two of the many banks there]. Though there are Banks based on Islamic concepts, so far they seem to have been bending the rules.

    Interest (riba) is not allowed in Islam, and most loans are made on the basis of PLS (Profit & Loss Sharing). Islamic banking & finance is a growing segment of the global economy and after 9/11 Muslims in the Muslim countries are moving towards more Islamic ways of Banking than the conventional banking.

    As for the prayers, it does not take 2 hours to pray, you can be done praying in 5 minutes and it wouldn't stop you from completing that model you are working on. It is desirable to offer Friday afternoon prayers in congregation, and it does not have to be at the mosque, it can be with a group of fellow Muslims. Also, you do not need a dedicated prayer room, you just need a clean tidy place to put your prayer mat on.

    It's because there is no central authority in Islam, you will hear many versions of what is allowed and what's not allowed. In the American economy, practically everything is based on interest. Mortgage, insurance, car financing, credit cards. I use credit cards, but never pay interest. I have a rented apartment. I do insurance, because it is the law of the land. I have found that it is easier, generally, to be a Muslim in America than some of the Muslim countries.

  • seedy underbelly's picture

    Macro is correct. It's virtually interest under a different name.

  • junky_munky's picture

    In my personal opinion, all the Islamic finance structures are in spirit conventional structures, but Shariah compliant only in form (form over substance). They need to be approved by the respective finance institutions' Shariah body, and the approvals can be withheld by some and given by others (meaning, that even for traditional Islamic structures it can be a question of interpretation by different individuals).

    At the end of the day, Islamic institutions cannot survive if they don't meet the conventional investment criteria, so there will always be a market for Islamic structures, "experts" in Islamic financing, and for the Shariah departments/ scholars who approve them.

    For those of you who are interested, you could Wiki/read about the various structures
    – Murabaha and Tawarruq (cost-plus financing)
    – Salam (forward sale)
    – Wakala (agency)
    – Istisna'a (custom manufacturing)
    – Ijara (leasing)
    – Wakala – Ijara
    – Istisna'a - Ijara
    – Musharaka (partnership)
    – Mudaraba (trust financing)
    – Sukuk (certificates)

  • najifa's picture

    If US was based on Islamic banking their debt / financial crises wouldnt of been as bad.

    I work in Saudi Arabia, our ramadan hours are different than regular hours. Saudi banking system is one of the strongest in the middle east due to regulations.

  • Gate_Crasher's picture

    I thought Judaism and Christianity forbid interest etc.. Well in case of Judaism its ok to lend money for interest as long as you are a goyim.
    I guess it's all bull crap anyway.
    At the end it all boils down to money.
    And Islamic Banking is a joke. They charge interest and call it something else.

  • In reply to XFS
    DrPeterVenkman's picture

    XFS wrote:
    Thank you for the share Op.

    You're welcome!

    Quote:
    In a post credit-crisis world, Islamic banking is tipped to be a major growth area for international financing. It currently represents around just 2 percent to 3 percent of global financial assets, or almost $1 trillion, but it is growing at an average of 25 percent each year.

    http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9LIK...

    and

    Quote:
    Robert Tuttle, the former U.S. Ambassador to London who is now a millionaire businessman, warned in a cable to his bosses at the U.S. Treasury that Britain was getting the jump on the United States at a crucial time.

    "Should London successfully position itself as a leading Islamic finance center, it could gain an edge on New York, when the global financial markets recover," Tuttle said in a 2009 cable obtained by the Wikileaks website and published in The Telegraph this month.

  • Leonidas's picture

    Interesting article, OP. I am Muslim, and suspect that a few others on WSO are as well.

    Angus Macgyver is correct BTW. Interest, and all the good shit is there... it's just called something else, and the difference is minute at best. My father is a pretty devout Muslim, and he was a successful prop trader in his prime, he was just a poor immigrant from Asia, and is currently worth 10-15 MM.

    What I found most interesting about the article, was the fact that YOUNG people were so adherent to their religion, and went above and beyond the basic 5 pillars of Islam.

    Which are:
    1) Belief in God, and the Messiah.
    2) Pray 5 times a day.
    3) Refrain from eating or drinking (even water) from sunrise to sundown during the month of Ramadan.
    4) Give a significant amount of your income to the poor. (My old man donates ~20% of his yearly pay.)
    5) Go on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

    I myself only do #s 1 and 3. I don't smoke, drink, or do drugs. I eat halal food - which is pretty much the same as kosher. But I indulge in a few things such as pre-marital sex, and eating shrimp-fried-rice (not at the same time).

    Apart from the retard who asked me how I felt when Bin Laden died, everyone I've come across at work have been incredibly cool with me being a Muslim. Sure, I get the occassional crass "what's that under your vest bro?" joke, but they don't mean anything by it.

    Thanks again for the link OP. Didn't know the CEO of PIMCO was Muslim.

    Calling Ron Paul an isolationist is like calling your neighbor a hermit because he doesn't come over to your property and break your windows.

  • Relinquis's picture

    One of my favourite colleagues was Muslim. Smart guy and good friend. His religion didn't affect his/our work at all. I think he had a healthy aversion to recourse debt. His background was initially M&A and then a couple of stints in PE (non-real estate). He runs his own firm now advising large investors on their PE investments.

    He explained to me that the reason for banning usury was to combat debt bondage and slavery, so he personally had no issue with non-recourse debt on portfolio companies / assets. I don't know if this is a common view among professionals.

    Macro Arbitrage wrote:
    oldmansacks wrote:
    Macro Arbitrage wrote:
    Anyone who believes that Sharia financing is any different from charging interest is vastly misinformed.

    this. i've read into Islamic finance quite a bit and i dont see how its not the same concept as interest.

    Gotta love fairy tales. The banking system in the middle east is a fucking joke.


    It's just marketing (like most of finance)... I'm not an expert, but the way I understand it is that it helps "sharia compliant" firms attract capital and customers from a segment that would prefer that type of structure to a traditional interest based instrument. I wouldn't be surprised if depositors in some countries viewed Islamic banks (rightly or wrongly) as being more stable or trustworthy than their non-Islamic competitors.

    In most countries with large Muslim populations (Middle East and some Asian countries), you find both conventional and Sharia compliant institutions. Also, it's not uncommon for for BB investment banks and other western institutions to structure deals in an Sharia compliant manner if the issuer requires it, or if they want to raise funds from that segment of the market.

    Take mortgages, instead of a loan, you have a sale and leaseback, etc... a lot of the economics stay the same (or similar), but there are legal ramifications in terms of non-performance and foreclosure. It also kind of limits their ability to take full advantage of securitisations, MBS and such... until they come up with new structures i suppose.

    Ethics
    I'm not sure that I would be comfortable with being involved in all types of Islamic finance... Asset based finance is one thing, but I feel uncomfortable using the cover of religion to get people to enter into transactions that they would normally not pursue (e.g. islamic credit cards).

    We once had a large Middle Eastern institution want to co-invest with us on a deal, but we couldn't find a structure that would work given our existing financing and such. They had a mandate to only invest in Sharia compliant structures.

  • Relinquis's picture

    Not to derail this thread, but those interested should follow the Arcapita bankruptcy... Its one of the largest Islamic private equity firms ($7 billion or so) under management, mostly invested internationally.

    Should be interesting to see not only how things will play out legally/financially, but also how they had put their deals together given their Sharia restrictions.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-29/arcapita-...

    Back to the subject of this thread, in London there are many Muslims in the City among the BBs and elite boutiques. I think religion is almost a non-issue in this context.

  • In reply to Relinquis
    DrPeterVenkman's picture

    Relinquis wrote:

    Back to the subject of this thread, in London there are many Muslims in the City among the BBs and elite boutiques. I think religion is almost a non-issue in this context.

    London definitely has a larger/more influential Middle Eastern/South Asian population than NYC.

    Thanks for that story you linked.

  • In reply to Leonidas
    seedy underbelly's picture

    Leonidas wrote:
    Interesting article, OP. I am Muslim, and suspect that a few others on WSO are as well.

    Angus Macgyver is correct BTW. Interest, and all the good shit is there... it's just called something else, and the difference is minute at best. My father is a pretty devout Muslim, and he was a successful prop trader in his prime, he was just a poor immigrant from Asia, and is currently worth 10-15 MM.

    What I found most interesting about the article, was the fact that YOUNG people were so adherent to their religion, and went above and beyond the basic 5 pillars of Islam.

    Which are:
    1) Belief in God, and the Messiah.
    2) Pray 5 times a day.
    3) Refrain from eating or drinking (even water) from sunrise to sundown during the month of Ramadan.
    4) Give a significant amount of your income to the poor. (My old man donates ~20% of his yearly pay.)
    5) Go on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

    I myself only do #s 1 and 3. I don't smoke, drink, or do drugs. I eat halal food - which is pretty much the same as kosher. But I indulge in a few things such as pre-marital sex, and eating shrimp-fried-rice (not at the same time).

    Apart from the retard who asked me how I felt when Bin Laden died, everyone I've come across at work have been incredibly cool with me being a Muslim. Sure, I get the occassional crass "what's that under your vest bro?" joke, but they don't mean anything by it.

    Thanks again for the link OP. Didn't know the CEO of PIMCO was Muslim.

    He's not. He was born to Muslim parents.

    Big difference.

  • ChrisHansen's picture

    Islamic banking...I'll give you 4 chickens if you let me fuck your sheep

  • In reply to Leonidas
    General Disarray's picture

    Leonidas wrote:
    Interesting article, OP. I am Muslim, and suspect that a few others on WSO are as well.

    Angus Macgyver is correct BTW. Interest, and all the good shit is there... it's just called something else, and the difference is minute at best. My father is a pretty devout Muslim, and he was a successful prop trader in his prime, he was just a poor immigrant from Asia, and is currently worth 10-15 MM.

    What I found most interesting about the article, was the fact that YOUNG people were so adherent to their religion, and went above and beyond the basic 5 pillars of Islam.

    Which are:
    1) Belief in God, and the Messiah.
    2) Pray 5 times a day.
    3) Refrain from eating or drinking (even water) from sunrise to sundown during the month of Ramadan.
    4) Give a significant amount of your income to the poor. (My old man donates ~20% of his yearly pay.)
    5) Go on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

    I myself only do #s 1 and 3. I don't smoke, drink, or do drugs. I eat halal food - which is pretty much the same as kosher. But I indulge in a few things such as pre-marital sex, and eating shrimp-fried-rice (not at the same time).

    Apart from the retard who asked me how I felt when Bin Laden died, everyone I've come across at work have been incredibly cool with me being a Muslim. Sure, I get the occassional crass "what's that under your vest bro?" joke, but they don't mean anything by it.

    Thanks again for the link OP. Didn't know the CEO of PIMCO was Muslim.

    Just curious, If you're gonna break one rule..why not break them all? I thought pre martial sex was a big no no in Islam? why pick and choose? A friend of mine who is Muslim does everything (drinks, pre-marital sex, etc) but when it comes to eating pork he goes, "Oh no man, I can't I'm Muslim." It boggles my mind.

  • In reply to General Disarray
    OMS's picture

    General Disarray wrote:
    Leonidas wrote:
    Interesting article, OP. I am Muslim, and suspect that a few others on WSO are as well.

    Angus Macgyver is correct BTW. Interest, and all the good shit is there... it's just called something else, and the difference is minute at best. My father is a pretty devout Muslim, and he was a successful prop trader in his prime, he was just a poor immigrant from Asia, and is currently worth 10-15 MM.

    What I found most interesting about the article, was the fact that YOUNG people were so adherent to their religion, and went above and beyond the basic 5 pillars of Islam.

    Which are:
    1) Belief in God, and the Messiah.
    2) Pray 5 times a day.
    3) Refrain from eating or drinking (even water) from sunrise to sundown during the month of Ramadan.
    4) Give a significant amount of your income to the poor. (My old man donates ~20% of his yearly pay.)
    5) Go on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

    I myself only do #s 1 and 3. I don't smoke, drink, or do drugs. I eat halal food - which is pretty much the same as kosher. But I indulge in a few things such as pre-marital sex, and eating shrimp-fried-rice (not at the same time).

    Apart from the retard who asked me how I felt when Bin Laden died, everyone I've come across at work have been incredibly cool with me being a Muslim. Sure, I get the occassional crass "what's that under your vest bro?" joke, but they don't mean anything by it.

    Thanks again for the link OP. Didn't know the CEO of PIMCO was Muslim.

    Just curious, If you're gonna break one rule..why not break them all? I thought pre martial sex was a big no no in Islam? why pick and choose? A friend of mine who is Muslim does everything (drinks, pre-marital sex, etc) but when it comes to eating pork he goes, "Oh no man, I can't I'm Muslim." It boggles my mind.

    haha, i see this happen too. Its hard to avoid the drinks, sex, etc since all your friends/co-workers do it. But pork is something that is easily substitutable and not as weird to say "no i can't eat pork" vs "no i cant drink" or a 20 something year old saying "no i am keeping my virginity until I'm married". I guess it more of a mental thing than religious dilemma to them. Parents tell their kids they can't eat pig meat from day 1, but don't really mention sex and alcohol until they are older (when they are pretty much making their own decisions by then) so i guess that is a factor too. it is odd because drinking alcohol and pre-marital sex is far worse than eating pork in Islam. i guess its basically trying to be "the best muslim as possible" vs. "being the worst muslim". But i see where you are coming from.

  • Angus Macgyver's picture

    RE: The pork thing - clearly, it's a lot easier to give up pork than it is to give up sex and alcohol. A lot of Muslims therefore make a token effort to be good Muslims by not eating pork, all the while porking other people.

  • In reply to Angus Macgyver
    Anomanderis's picture

    Angus Macgyver wrote:
    RE: The pork thing - clearly, it's a lot easier to give up pork than it is to give up sex and alcohol. A lot of Muslims therefore make a token effort to be good Muslims by not eating pork, all the while porking other people.

    Heh.

    But Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought bravely.

    And Rhaegar died.

  • Leonidas's picture

    @seedy underbelly:
    Mind elaborating on that? I thought Mohamed E. said he was Muslim, and that he never faced any problems because of it.

    @General Disarray:
    It's not quite as simple as that. Islam advocates that we lead a Spartan lifestyle, with as little material possessions as possible, and give the rest to the poor. How many people do you see doing that? My dad is pretty devout in his faith, and follows the 5 pillars, and then some, but even he "only" gives 20% of his income to charity. The point is, you can ALWAYS do more. The vast majority of us do as much as we can.

    Calling Ron Paul an isolationist is like calling your neighbor a hermit because he doesn't come over to your property and break your windows.

  • In reply to Leonidas
    UFOinsider's picture

    Leonidas wrote:
    @General Disarray:
    It's not quite as simple as that. Islam advocates that we lead a Spartan lifestyle, with as little material possessions as possible, and give the rest to the poor. How many people do you see doing that? My dad is pretty devout in his faith, and follows the 5 pillars, and then some, but even he "only" gives 20% of his income to charity. The point is, you can ALWAYS do more. The vast majority of us do as much as we can.

    Just out of curiosity, do you think this is in any way correlated to the cultural / political problems in MENA nations? The leaders there hoard and squander the wealth of their nations ...look at Saudi Arabia... while the poor are screwed. For a long time, blame gets shifted one way or another to 'western evil' or Israel or somethingWhatever, but ultimately is a problem that needs public attention over there.

    Your thoughts? (I know this isn't really the forum for this, but there are several well informed people here, so why not)

    Get busy living

  • In reply to UFOinsider
    Leonidas's picture

    UFOinsider wrote:
    Leonidas wrote:
    @General Disarray:
    It's not quite as simple as that. Islam advocates that we lead a Spartan lifestyle, with as little material possessions as possible, and give the rest to the poor. How many people do you see doing that? My dad is pretty devout in his faith, and follows the 5 pillars, and then some, but even he "only" gives 20% of his income to charity. The point is, you can ALWAYS do more. The vast majority of us do as much as we can.

    Just out of curiosity, do you think this is in any way correlated to the cultural / political problems in MENA nations? The leaders there hoard and squander the wealth of their nations ...look at Saudi Arabia... while the poor are screwed. For a long time, blame gets shifted one way or another to 'western evil' or Israel or somethingWhatever, but ultimately is a problem that needs public attention over there.

    Your thoughts? (I know this isn't really the forum for this, but there are several well informed people here, so why not)

    IMO, Saudi Arabia is a complete travesty. Fun fact: "Saudi Arabia" loosely translates to "Arab of the Saud family". In fact, the King regards all of Saudi Arabia as his personal property, and he does with it as he pleases. This is wrong on so many levels... The problem is that generally speaking, people don't like change - which is also the same reason that Obama will get re-elected, but I digress - so a movement to enact democracy won't come until after the oil runs dry. SA have gone so far away from the teachings of Islam, that it's ridiculous. Muhammad (pbuh) had always preached that the best man available should do the job i.e. democracy. Not some arbitrary dynastic rule.

    Islam itself is not the problem. Just look at Muslim majority countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. Islam works fine in Asia. The problem in the ME is not about religion at all. It's far more complicated than that, and has more to do with their culture, and history than anything else. Most of what you think you know about Islam is in reality, nothing more than Arab tribal customs.

    If you're interested in learning more about REAL Islam - not the BS spewed by the random Iranian nutjob - I recommend the book "What's Right with Islam Is What's Right with America" by Feisal Abdul Rauf. The author did his undergrad at Columbia University, studying Physics, so he's not a cradle2thegrave cleric. I've actually met the guy, and he seemed pretty chill, based on the brief conversation I had with him.

    Calling Ron Paul an isolationist is like calling your neighbor a hermit because he doesn't come over to your property and break your windows.

  • In reply to General Disarray
    Cola Coca's picture

    General Disarray wrote:
    Just curious, If you're gonna break one rule..why not break them all? I thought pre martial sex was a big no no in Islam? why pick and choose? A friend of mine who is Muslim does everything (drinks, pre-marital sex, etc) but when it comes to eating pork he goes, "Oh no man, I can't I'm Muslim." It boggles my mind.

    The pre-marital sex and other "rules" are broken by Catholics/Christians all the time as well.

  • In reply to Leonidas
    OMS's picture

    Leonidas wrote:
    UFOinsider wrote:
    Leonidas wrote:
    @General Disarray:
    It's not quite as simple as that. Islam advocates that we lead a Spartan lifestyle, with as little material possessions as possible, and give the rest to the poor. How many people do you see doing that? My dad is pretty devout in his faith, and follows the 5 pillars, and then some, but even he "only" gives 20% of his income to charity. The point is, you can ALWAYS do more. The vast majority of us do as much as we can.

    Just out of curiosity, do you think this is in any way correlated to the cultural / political problems in MENA nations? The leaders there hoard and squander the wealth of their nations ...look at Saudi Arabia... while the poor are screwed. For a long time, blame gets shifted one way or another to 'western evil' or Israel or somethingWhatever, but ultimately is a problem that needs public attention over there.

    Your thoughts? (I know this isn't really the forum for this, but there are several well informed people here, so why not)

    SA have gone so far away from the teachings of Islam, that it's ridiculous. Muhammad (pbuh) had always preached that the best man available should do the job i.e. democracy. Not some arbitrary dynastic rule.

    Islam itself is not the problem. Just look at Muslim majority countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. Islam works fine in Asia. The problem in the ME is not about religion at all. It's far more complicated than that, and has more to do with their culture, and history than anything else. Most of what you think you know about Islam is in reality, nothing more than Arab tribal customs.

  • In reply to Leonidas
    UFOinsider's picture

    Leonidas wrote:
    IMO, Saudi Arabia is a complete travesty. Fun fact: "Saudi Arabia" loosely translates to "Arab of the Saud family". In fact, the King regards all of Saudi Arabia as his personal property, and he does with it as he pleases. This is wrong on so many levels... The problem is that generally speaking, people don't like change - which is also the same reason that Obama will get re-elected, but I digress - so a movement to enact democracy won't come until after the oil runs dry. SA have gone so far away from the teachings of Islam, that it's ridiculous. Muhammad (pbuh) had always preached that the best man available should do the job i.e. democracy. Not some arbitrary dynastic rule.

    Islam itself is not the problem. Just look at Muslim majority countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. Islam works fine in Asia. The problem in the ME is not about religion at all. It's far more complicated than that, and has more to do with their culture, and history than anything else. Most of what you think you know about Islam is in reality, nothing more than Arab tribal customs.

    If you're interested in learning more about REAL Islam - not the BS spewed by the random Iranian nutjob - I recommend the book "What's Right with Islam Is What's Right with America" by Feisal Abdul Rauf. The author did his undergrad at Columbia University, studying Physics, so he's not a cradle2thegrave cleric. I've actually met the guy, and he seemed pretty chill, based on the brief conversation I had with him.


    So, economic and political factors are driving a lot of this? I have shared this observation for quite some time and will check out the book ( :/ when I have free time). It seems that like any religion, a lot of the theology reflects on underlying shifts and not the other way around. If so, this bodes well for Europe if they can get their social systems in order, and for MENA in general. Thanks for sharing.
    Cola Coca wrote:
    The pre-marital sex and other "rules" are broken by Catholics/Christians all the time as well.
    Helllz yeah, and I sleep like a baby at night. Most of those rules were dreamt up by ninety year old Vatican hermits five centuries ago, and implemented by hyppocritical vicars when they weren't with their concubines or partying their asses off on the Church's dime. They took a bunch of moral guidelines and ideals and tried to make them law. Kind of like what the politicians in America have been trying to do for the last generation, but whatever, I'm going to do my own thing no matter WHAT the hysterical morons on TV rant about.

    Get busy living

  • Cola Coca's picture

    Just to be clear, I didn't mean to call out Christians. Jews do it. Hindus do it. Everyone does.

    My point was it shouldn't really boggle his/her mind that people are irrational.

    For fuck's sake, my Indian girlfriend doesn't eat beef, but every once in a while, she pops in a hot dog (the beef kind).

  • In reply to Cola Coca
    Angus Macgyver's picture

    Cola Coca wrote:
    Just to be clear, I didn't mean to call out Christians. Jews do it. Hindus do it. Everyone does.

    My point was it shouldn't really boggle his/her mind that people are irrational.

    For fuck's sake, my Indian girlfriend doesn't eat beef, but every once in a while, she pops in a hot dog (the beef kind).


    Are you talking about her eating beef sausages, or are you talking about YOUR beef sausage? Which is it?

  • In reply to Cola Coca
    Macro Arbitrage's picture

    To unlock this content for free, please login / register below.

    Sign In with Facebook Sign In with Google

    Connecting helps us build a vibrant community. We'll never share your info without your permission. Sign up with email or if you are already a member, login here Bonus: Also get 6 free financial modeling lessons for free ($200+ value) when you register!
  • DrPeterVenkman's picture
  • konig's picture

    Greed is Good.

  • DrPeterVenkman's picture
  • LR1400's picture