Monday, December 15, 2008

The Rest of the Story?

I see somebody woke up the Star Tribune long enough for them to confirm that Keith Ellison went to Mecca on the hajj this year (as previously reported on NARN and Power Line). A perfunctory, celebratory article appears today. Excerpt:
"For our relations with the Muslim world, it can only help to see an American congressman going on Hajj and mingling with the millions of Muslims from all parts of the world in Mecca," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "And from a domestic perspective, it sends a really positive message of religious diversity and inclusion in our society."
Speaking of inclusion and diversity, one of the primary events of the hajj is the address by Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti. As reported in the Financial Times, the highlights from this year's speech included:
Saudi Arabia's top cleric has used his annual sermon to Muslim pilgrims assembling for hajj to urge Muslim countries to renounce capitalism and form an Islamic economic bloc that adopts interest-free finance.

Grand Mufti Abdelaziz Al al-Sheikh told worshippers assembling on the plain of Mount Arafat that global economies now caught in crisis were suffering the result of using interest as a bedrock of their financial systems. Under Islamic law, or sharia, paying or receiving interest is forbidden.
Obvious questions left untouched by the monopoly newspaper covering Keith Ellison's district:

Did Keith Ellison attend the Grand Mufti's address? What did he think of it? Is capitalism a good idea for Muslim countries? If not, is capitalism a good idea for any countries?

How about interest-based finance, is it something Muslims should engage in, particularly those in the US?

Call me a cock-eyed optimist, but I say embracing hard news stories of this nature and public service reporting helping us to get to know our elected officials might be the key to reversing this trend. Go to it Star Tribune!