JAMAICA, New York (November 02, 2011) – The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) issued a press release today in support of Occupy Wall Street protesters.
“Real progress and development of a country depends on prosperity of society as a whole, not just that of a selected portion of society. Yet the income gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow, and uneconomic recovery across the country has been uneven and unstable at best. Corporations are ruthlessly cutting jobs, leaving 10% of the entire population unemployed while Wall Street enjoys huge bonuses.

A report this past week by the Congressional Budget Office found that the average after-tax income for the top 1 percent of U.S. households had increased by 275 percent over the past three decades. Middle-income households saw just a 40 percent rise. For those at the bottom of the economic scale, the jump was 18 percent.
Despite government aid during the credit crisis, banks have been indifferent to the suffering of distressed homeowners and have made it extremely difficult to refinance homes. They have also restricted credit to small and mid-size businesses, essentially forcing them to close. Any attempt to improve the situation has been shot down by the Wall Street sponsored lobby.
ICNA sympathizes with the message of Occupy Wall Street protesters and supports their cause. These protesters are raising legitimate concerns regarding income disparity, unemployment and the state of our economy that cannot be ignored. As American Muslims we stand in solidarity with them across the country.”

8 Responses

  1. “ICNA sympathizes with Occupy Wall Street protesters and fully supports their cause. ”
    Could you please clarify what their “cause” is? The official OWS web site states on the home page that “we don’t need Wall Street and we don’t need politicians to build a better society.” Are you advocating the abolition of these institutions? Or building a society that exists separately from these institutions? How would this society be structured? How would it function? How would it improve the lives of those at the bottom of the economic ladder?
    Don’t forget that many Americans emigrated from Russia, China, Cuba and other nations that had “revolutions” based on “economic justice”. The history of these nations shows that good intentions can produce horrific results. I’m sure you will understand why so many Americans are so skeptical of a movement that appears to have a similar agenda.

  2. Mr. or Ms. Fernandez: This is the only statement on the OWS home page about why they are protesting: “#ows is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations.”
    I am a former federal bank examiner, and before that I worked as a mortgage banker. If you research what happened in the major banks and brokerage houses leading up to the financial crisis, you will find that there was an amazing amount of criminal activity which was never prosecuted. This was due to the SEC and the US Department of Justice being hampered in their investigations by those with political clout. And we know this clout is bought with US dollars.
    US corporations have become skilled at buying influence to make sure the laws are made to benefit them. The rest of us do not have this power individually, but we do have the constitutional right to petition the government for the redress of grievances. People are using that right to let our leaders know that we are aware of the growing economic inequality in this country, and that we know our elected leaders are to blame.
    That is the cause.

  3. as-salaam ‘alaykum,
    While I love ICNA, I very strongly disagree with this stance. The narrative that the Occupy Wall Street movement presents is based on ignorance and misinformation. This notion of 1% vs 99% is misleading. It was not “Wall Street Greed” that created these problems, but Government intervention that created perverse incentives in the market, which subsequently were used by businesses. The root cause was the gov’t hand in the financial system. Even then, the rich already pay 36% of their income in taxes, while everyone else only pays ~2.25%. If anything, this “1%” should be upset about their excessive taxes – and I fail to see how this is not dhulm.
    As a student of Economics, it is clear that supporting left-wing policies has produced nothing but more suffering, more poverty, and more misery, especially for the poorest people. Conversely, supporting freedom and market-based economies results in progress and development. The way to help the poor is to create economic opportunities for them, not to steal wealth from rich people.
    Traditionally Muslims were more or less libertarian with a low Zakah rate. Now en masse we’ve adopted the ideas of Keynes and Marx.
    Ultimately while I disagree with this position, I love ICNA and appreciate the great work you all do.
    wa salaam

  4. asSalam aleikum,
    This endorsement by ICNA is simply a political statement and makes little sense. It really does not matter whether we support this movement or not. It is a useless and futile movement.
    Every problem that exists is a result of our ever-present failure to follow the laws of Allah. We need to go much further than the Federal Reserve or Obama: We need to hold ourselves accountable.
    The good news is that there is no need to “abolish the fed” or “occupy wall street.” The Federal Reserve and Wall Street are already obsolete, just like all human made institutions they will soon end. The Constitution has been meaningless since the Civil War. Where is it written that Americans deserve high-paying jobs? In any case, since when does protesting produce something of value or create employment? How will protesting create jobs? America’s impending collapse will not be stopped by whining people holding signs. Do the protesters seriously insist that the government create fake jobs just as it already creates fake money?
    The reason wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few under this system is because of 1)legalized interest, 2)fractional reserve banking and 3)fiat currency. Yet most of the dialogue completely ignores this.
    Any system based on economic cheating, including things like legalized interest will collapse, it is a natural law. It is unsustainable.
    “… the greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.”
    (Bill Mollison, ‘Father of Permaculture’)
    Find out how to return to a natural way of life: Learn about Permaculture

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Islamic Circle of North America
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