Cii News | 03 January 2013

A Port Elizabeth based Muslim publication, The Majlis, has urged Muslim clients of First National Bank (FNB) to close their accounts at the bank with immediate effect.

This comes in the wake of FNB’s recently publicised decision to shut down the account of a local Muslim charity, the Al Aqsa Foundation, after purported foreign pressure.

In a statement to the media, Michael Vacy-Lyle, an FNB commercial executive claimed the decision was purely a business one with the bank simply living up to stringent obligations of the international financial community that regulate banking relationships with entities listed by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control(OFAC), which has designated Al Aqsa  Foundation to be a terrorist supporting entity. The Johannesburg based Foundation has repeatedly dismissed the accusations, instead alleging that the closure forms part of a much larger campaign by opponents of the Palestinians to suffocate those in the Occupied Territories from receiving aid and assistance  from the outside world.

In an email communique, the Majlisul Ulama accuses FNB of openly proclaiming its aversion to Muslims and Islam by equating Al Aqsa’s humanitarian work in Palestine with terrorism. It further urges Muslim clients of the bank to close their accounts as a demonstration of their brotherhood and solidarity with the Palestinians.

“It behoves not a Muslim to continue operating an account in a bank which has now openly displayed its enmity and hostility for Muslims.  All Muslims are ‘terrorists’ in the eyes of the U.S. and its lackeys… The FNB has  now jumped onto that vile bandwagon. With what type of a heart can a Muslim continue to operate an account in a bank that has declared its hostility for the Palestinian brothers and sisters?  FNB’s closure of Al-Aqsa Foundation’s account  is an act of  hostility and hatred  for Muslims and Islam. It is now no longer permissible for Muslims to deal with FNB. All Muslims have an obligatory Islamic  duty to close their accounts.”

The Majlis, an avowed opponent of contemporary ‘Shariah compliant banking’, further states that it is imperative that FNB terminates its ‘Islamic’ Finance department.  “It is Waajib for any ‘shariah’ board assisting FNB, to immediately disband and withdraw their ‘halaal’ certification of FNB products,” it adds.

Last week, Ebrahim Fakude, a spokesperson for the Al Aqsa Foundation told Cii Radio that donors should immediately begin usage of alternative bank accounts that the Foundation has since set up, and to do “whatever they want to do” in voicing their concerns and grievances to FNB.


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