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Egypt's World Bank loan will 'lead us to hell': Islamist MPs

The road to hell is paved with development loans, Egyptian Islamists tell Parliament, saying interest payments on such borrowing are forbidden by religious law

Bassem Abo Alabass, Tuesday 15 May 2012
Egypt
The outer circles of parliament (Photo: Reuters)
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Islamist MPs caused a stir in Egypt's Parliament on Monday by declaring that a $200 million World Bank development loan is against Islamic law.

Several Islamist parliamentarians used the afternoon session to blast the international loan, aimed at Egyptian sanitation projects, saying interest payments to the World Bank qualify as ursury, a concept forbidden in the Quran.
 
"This loan will lead us all to hell," the state-run MENA news agency quoted MPs as saying.
 
In June 2011, the World Bank pledged $200 million in funding to support the upgrading of sanitation and sewage infrastructure in four governorates in the Nile Delta and Upper Egypt.
 
The loan, preliminarily agreed by Egypt's ruling military, needs approval from Parliament before the country will receive the funding. The full terms of the World Bank loan have not been disclosed, with the eventual interest rate dependent on market conditions at the time of the final agreement.
 
While some Islamist MPs entirely rejected the World Bank deal, others such as Magdi Qurqur, deputy head of the Parliament's housing committee, said religious guidance may be required.
 
"I think we need a fatwa [legal ruling] from Al-Azhar [Egypt’s seat of Islamic learning] -- they can tell us if the country’s difficult financial situation gives us dispensation to approve the loan," said Qurqur, a member of Al-Amal, an Islamic-oriented socialist party. 
 
Qurqur added that other MPs also opposed the loan on non-religious grounds, saying they do not want Egypt beholden to foreign-placed conditions.
 
Mohamed ElBaradei, at one point a potential presidential contender and now leader of the newly-formed Constitutional Party, expressed disbelief via his Twitter account.
 
"Which Islamic law are you talking about?!" he asked.
 
Mohamed Dawood, the deputy speaker of parliament who headed Monday's session in the absence of Saad El-Katatni, made the decision to adjourn the session. Discussions will continue in the next few days, Al-Ahram newspaper reported.
 
The World Bank loan is aimed at providing some 1.2 million people in the governorates of Menoufia, Sharqiya, Assiut and Sohag with better access to sanitation and sewage services.
 
Egyptian politicians have also been divided on the prospect of a long-awaited $3.2 billion loan from the World Bank's sister body, the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
 
Most local economists say the loan is necessary to plug a widening gap in Egypt's budget. Critics, however, accuse the IMF of placing conditions on spending and repayment that exacerbate social inequalities.
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Free Lady
17-05-2012 07:43am
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Financial Hell
Since Islamist took over parliaments we have slipped into financial hell. Last one year our foreign reserved fell from from $36 billion to $18 billion only 4 months of imports. We cant sell our treasury bills even at 16% for nine months. We are facing shortage of fuel, wheat, and daily food items. There are reports of actual hunger in provincial Egyptian towns. Better for MP's to focus on these financial problems which are sending poor into living hell rather then hell after death. Allah will forgive us but Islamist will not leave us alive.
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Realist
16-05-2012 02:31pm
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Sharia bank
Its simple... just change the 'Interest" word to 'Service charges" as these so called Sharia Islamic banks do..... problem solved.
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Emad
16-05-2012 04:04am
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Hell?
So its not against religion when all these people die from diseases associated with unsanitary and sewage problems? Howe do these MP"s represent any kind of intellectual thoughts??? Their heads are in the ground!!! If one of these MP`s was the one living in these cities and under theses conditions what would they say then?? Would they still say the loan will take them to hell??? Open your eyes and use your brains for once for the better of the people of Egypt!
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Emad
16-05-2012 04:04am
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Hell?
So its not against religion when all these people die from diseases associated with unsanitary and sewage problems? Howe do these MP"s represent any kind of intellectual thoughts??? Their heads are in the ground!!! If one of these MP`s was the one living in these cities and under theses conditions what would they say then?? Would they still say the loan will take them to hell??? Open your eyes and use your brains for once for the better of the people of Egypt!
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medo
15-05-2012 06:11pm
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the answer is....
The easy answer for this crisis is simple..... why don't the "Islamic banks" borrow Egypt the money instead? It is very easy for the Islamic Parliament" to say no to money from abroad... but if they do say no, why not find an alternative to get Egypt out of the problems that we are facing? It is a sorry state of affairs that people don't want Egypt to borrow money from western countries, but i don't see many Islamic countries offering to help fix our problems!
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WADEA W. SAAD
15-05-2012 11:54pm
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CURRENCY EXCHANGE IS A SOLUTION
WHAT IF AN ISLAMIST MONEY LAUNDERING PRO FROM THE MOSLEM BROTHERS RANKS LIKE EL SHATER MAKES THE SAME DEAL WITH THE WORLD BANK ??, I THINK IT WILL FLY , PARLIAMENT WILL HAVE NO SAY , AND EL SHATER TAKES HIS SHARE , ISLAMISTS IN PARLIAMENT HANDLE THE SANITATION PROJECT AMONG THEMSELVES , AND THEY WILL PROSPER , THE 4 GOVERNORATES WILL RECEIVE FEW METERS OF PIPES , AND REPEAT THE CYCLE , ASK FOR MORE MONEY
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