Newsgroups: uk.religion.islam 
Subject: Islamic View on Local Exchange Trading 
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 1996 21:59:43 GMT
Organization: Islamic Party of Britain
L.E.T.S. help ourselves
There is a statement in the Qur'an which informs us that "Allah 
does not improve the condition of a people until they try to 
improve conditions for themselves". Or as the English say: "God 
helps those who help themselves."                  
For those who still doubt that it is up to individuals to try and 
help themselves, in order to establish - through practical means 
- an Islamic State, then Khidr's example to Musa (A.S.), in Surah 
18, The Cave, serves as a good example. His practical disabling 
of the boat to prevent its expropriation by a marauding king, the 
slaying of a tyranical youth, and the rebuilding of a wall to 
preserve the inheritence of orphans, were all practical acts, 
done by a practical person in order to protect the faith of 
ordinary people. The loss of livelihood, leading to poverty, can, 
and does, sometimes lead to disbelief. In our attempts to 
engineer a practical return to trading without usury, in line 
with Islam's prohibition of interest (Riba), members of the 
Islamic Party of Britain, have faced the toughest opposition from 
'Muslim' economists and 'Islamic' bankers, in areas of the Muslim 
world desperately in need of a halal monetary system, through 
which, it was hoped, that the Sharia could be seen to be working 
in the interests of ordinary people.   
At the moment, we see the sanctioning of Islamic punishments 
devoid of Islamic Justice. The laws, concerning theft, for 
example, must first be applied to those in the society who cause 
the conditions in which people find the need to steal, or seek 
other illicit escapes from the inexorable, unbearable pressures 
of debt. Because, as Ali, the cousin of  Allah's messenger, 
pointed out: "We withstood the weight of the Iron, the Stone and 
the Lash, but we could not endure the weight of debt."
Understanding the destructive nature of poverty he also stated: 
"If poverty were a man I would kill him". If, therefore, Islamic 
Justice was the basis of the punishments meted out in those 
countries - which outwardly profess to be guided by the Glorious 
Shariah - there would be few, dextrous, let alone, ambidextrous 
bankers around.    
With the exception of the British Channel Islands, there is no 
country "Islamic" or otherwise, in which Monetary Reform is not 
desperately required. Although some local currencies have been 
introduced in places such as Stroud in Gloucestershire and Chorum 
in Turkey - independent of Central governments and the Basel 
Convention, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of this 
article going to press, we know of no genuine "Islamic" bank 
operating anywhere in the world - and that includes the Central 
banks of Saudi Arabia and the Sudan. Would that we were wrong. 
But, until Muslim Economists conform to the instructions of the 
Qur'an, and or, begin to recognize what many Non-Muslim 
Economists have come to understand - that interest-based banking 
and secular economics have a natural propensity to self-destruct 
- then there is little hope of breaking out of the stranglehold 
in which we currently find ourselves. Further more, despite the 
fact that war is an inevitable concomitant of interest and comes 
as a curse from Allah to all who give or receive it, there is 
little to show our willingness to modify this behaviour. But, 
unless we do, as Professor John Hotson predicts: "we can all look 
forward to - the Bosniafication of the planet". 
The list of noteworthy figures, who have sought to publicize the 
destructive propensities and inherent failures of interest based, 
fractional-reserve banking, along with other fraudulent aspects 
of Western economics,  includes, William Cobbett, Abraham  
Lincoln, Silvio Gessel, John Maynard Keynes, Karl Marx, John 
Kenneth Galbraith, Professor  Frederick Soddy, Stephen Leacock, 
etc., the fulllist is very long indeed.
Leacock, a professional Humorist and an Economist, summed up the 
situation admirably, when he stated: "Our studies consist only in 
the long-drawn proof of the futility of the search after 
knowledge effected by exposing the errors of the past
Philosophy is the science which proves that we know nothing of 
the soul; Medicine is the science which tells us that we know 
nothing of the body; Political Economy is that which teaches us 
that we know nothing of the laws of wealth; and Theology is the 
critical history of those errors from which we deduce our 
ignorance of God. When I sit and warm my hands, as best I may, at 
the little heap of embers that is now Political Economy, I cannot 
but contrast its dying glow with the vainglorious and triumphant 
science it once was."    
So, where, you may ask, do we go from here? It is often said 
that: "We get the government we deserve". That, if we are good 
our leaders are good, and if we are bad, they are likewise. If, 
such be the case, we must begin by educating ourselves and 
correcting our own bad or unwise practices first. The big Jihad, 
as ever, still lies within ourselves. The second step is to avoid 
re-inventing the wheel. There are many, good, non-Islamic books 
and leaflets on the subject of interest and its consequences. And 
many groups in the world, already create money for themselves 
when they involve themselves in interest-free, L.E.T.S (Local 
Exchange Trading Systems). These demonstrate clearly that money 
can be a useful servant - the role specified for it by Allah. In 
the second Surah of the Qur'an, entitled Al-Baqarah, Verse 282, 
significantly the longest in the entire scripture, He spells out 
the warning to all those who claim to be believers. "0 you who 
believe! When you deal with each other, in transactions involving 
Future obligations in a fixed period of time, reduce them to 
writing. Let a scribe write down faithfully as between the 
parties: Let not the scribe refuse to write: as Allah has taught 
him. So let him write. Let him who incurs the liability dictate, 
But let him fear Allah his Lord and not diminsh anything of what 
he owes ...and get two witnesses... The witnesses should not 
refuse when they are called on for evidence. Disdain not to 
reduce to writing (your contractual obligations) for a future 
period, whether it be small or large: it is more just in the 
sight of Allah, more suitable as evidence and more convenient to 
prevent doubts amongst youselves..."       
The compatibility of Local Exchange Trading Systems and Verse 282 
of Surah Al-Baqarah is quite remarkable. For example, Allah 
informs us earlier, in verses 275-279 of the same chapter that, 
He permits trade but condemns outright - usury/interest/riba - in 
any shape or form. "Those who devour usury will not stand except 
as stands one whom Satan by his touch has driven to madness. That 
is because they say: "Trade is like usury", But Allah has 
permitted trade And forbidden usury...
Allah will deprive Usury of ALL blessing... 0 you who believe! 
Fear Allah, and give up what remains of your demand for usury if 
you are indeed believers. If you do not (desist), Take notice of 
War from Allah and His Messenger ." In the absence of any 
initiative from a first, second, or third world government to act 
in the best interests of its population, ordinary people began to 
recognize that while they had wealth to exchange they had 
insufficient money with which to carry out the transaction. This 
spawned a number of schemes. Foremost of which is L.E.T.S, which 
was established in the United Kingdom and became famous through 
its Stroud Pound. One of the prime movers was the Muslim convert 
Sandra Bruce, who, together with Maggie Mills, set up the Stroud 
Directory which now boasts several hundred participants, and 
offers a wide range of goods and services which can be barter-
traded or exchanged for promissory notes/cheques specifying 
amounts in monetary terms - which, in effect, Commits the issuers 
of the cheques to redeem the face value of those cheques by 
providing either goods or services to anyone else involved in the 
LETS scheme. The original act of writing the sum agreed upon 
between the buyer and the seller amounts to having created a 
deposit of time/money. Money which is directly linked to a 
specific commodity or service which must be provided or delivered 
upon demand either now or some time in the future.    
For example. The classic case is that of Mrs. Smith, an elderly 
lady who has a leaking roof. She might be able to get Mr.Jones, 
the local builder, who she hears is short of work, to repair it 
for her in exchange for baby sitting his children at 2 per hour. 
The problem arises when the builder has no need of her services, 
in which case, the old lady has to wait until she can find a 
builder with whom she can barter her services. In the mean-time 
the community is denied both of their wealth creating activities, 
and she has to continue living with a leaking roof. However, 
under a LETS scheme, they would both be able to benefit. 
Under a LETS arrangement Mrs. Smith could call the same builder 
or any builder in the scheme, who would be able to undertake her 
roofing repairs and accept from her a cheque for the full amount. 
In this case 200 Stroud Pounds, which is pegged at 1 Stroud Pound 
for 1 Sterling. This is the usual rate throughout the country. 
The builder then takes Mrs. Smith's cheque for 200 Stroud Pounds 
to the depository where it is recorded and credited to his 
account. Mrs. Smith's account is duly debited by the same amount. 
This means that Mrs.Smith is now committed to perform 100 hours 
of Baby-sitting at 2 Stroud Pounds per hour. The builder can now 
spend some of his money on getting his van serviced. He may have 
to pay sterling for parts but the service portion of the bill can 
be paid in LETS currency. There are now over 400 Local Exchange 
Trading Systems in the United Kingdom.    
In the above situation we can see the value of reducing 
transactions involving future obligations committed to writing. 
And letting a Scribe - in this case a book keeper - write down, 
witness or record in a data base the roofing transaction and the 
future commitment of Mrs. Smith to discharge her contractual 
obligations to anyone within the LETS community. Every month, the 
members of the scheme receive a statement showing everyone how  
much each individual owes or is owed. Which helps to prevent 
doubts occurring. If anyone runs off owing a large amount - 
which, we understand is a rarity - then everyone in the scheme 
loses a few pounds, rather than one person losing the lot. LETS 
helps to rebuild self respect and a sense of community.Without 
preparing practical solutions for the everyday problems of 
everyday people, all talk of an Islamic State and caliphate are 
idle and futile. A jpg image of an Islamic barter cheque follows. 
http://www.islamparty/  "Common Sense: 
Article #3174 (3176 is last):
From:  (Islamic Party of Britain)
Newsgroups: uk.religion.islam
Subject: Islamic Party joins Canadian abolitionists
Date: Fri Jan 10 16:03:51 1997
     In a meeting in London with John Turmel, leader of the 
Canadian abolitionist party, the Islamic Party of Britain 
representatives re-affirmed their intention to join forces with 
anybody willing to fight the evil of interest which is most 
strongly condemned in Islam (the Qur'an contains a declaration of 
war from Allah and His messenger against usury), as it is 
prohibited in Islam's monotheistic precedessors, Judaism and 
Christianity, in their unadulterated message.
     The eloquent Canadian who argues for the introduction of a 
government-backed LETS (Local Exchange Trading System), a free 
and green alternative to interest-based debt-finance, is 
picketing Buckingham Palace today to petition the Queen to 
support the scheme. He has offered her free credit from the tens 
of thousands of LETS supporters already in the UK, some of whom 
are local councils using the scheme to alleviate the hardships of 
the money drought which results in unemployment and poverty in 
spite of people's ability to be productive.
     He has promised to return for the British general election 
expected in the spring to run a joined campaign to form a 
coalition promising support for any candidate willing to support 
this issue.
     The Islamic Party of Britain has made the fight against an 
interest-based monetary system is key issue since it fought the 
Bradford bye-election in 1990 against "Satanic Purses". The party 
hopes that the issue can be effectively raised in the forth-
coming general elections, and is willing to support any candidate 
or pressure group joining the campaign.