Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Why is Canadian Living promoting Halal credit cards? *Updated*

Updated: See below
First, SMW has to say that overall she likes Canadian Living. Especially their new and improved layout and Food is Love section. Now - back to the topic at hand:

In August's issue, there is a column dedicated "No Interest" halal credit cards (p. 87). It does not appear yet to be online so here is an excerpt:
The first halal payment card is now available across Canada. While the initial need to design the iFreedom Plus MasterCard came from the Muslim community (under Islamic law, paying interest is not halal, and so is a perceived sin), this prepaid, no interest card is ideal for everyone. Holders load their own money (up to $6,000) onto the card, then spend it when they need to. "A lot of people view this as more stress-free shopping because they're actually using money they have rather than ringing up their credit card and getting a huge bill," says Omar Kalair, the president and CEO of UM Financial, which launched the card with MasterCard.

Alright hold on a minute - what is the point of this card again? Swiping a card to buy something with money that you already have - hey doesn't that sound like a debit card???? Or a gift certificate????? Aside from the fact that I do not see what the point of this card is, it begs further investigation.

This card was released in 2009 at Toronto's "Reviving the Islamic Spirit Conference" (a conference which has featured speakers like Zakir Naik, Yusuf Islam, Tariq Ramadan, etc.). In the press release, MasterCard stated that amongst the cards various benefits, "In addition, for every transaction of over $20 billed to the card, one needy child in a developing country will be fed for a day through RS Foundation."

Having never heard of the RS Foundation SMW did a bit of research (since if you buy this card promoted in Canadian Living and use it you will be giving money to the RS Foundation). Regular readers will no doubt be shocked (shocked) to learn that the Director of the RS Foundation, Shujaat Wasty is a 9/11 Truther who has written and posted various online articles about the evil Americans and the "alleged" abuse of women in Afghanistan. In his online critique of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 Wasty wrote:

The second criticism was the absence of the most important player in the grand scheme of events: Israel. There is no that the Zionist movement occupies a primary role in the WTC attacks, international anti-American sentiment, , and plunging the entire world into the chaotic time that we live in. Such a major character being excluded from the movie is simply unfair.

In 2005 Wasty appeared in a panel at Concordia University where he said the cartoon drawings of Mohammed should not be part of freedom of expression, that Evangelical Christians belong to the "worst form of fudamentlism" and are responsible for a "genocide in North America," that Islamic governance is the only true form of democracy and where he argued for Shariah based arbitration to be allowed in Canada. Oh and guess what.....according to self-listed credits he works for the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Hmmmmmm. Why is Canadian Living promoting this? Nobody pays me to do this and it took all of 10 minutes for me to find this information.

UPDATE: I am rushing around today but will try to keep this coherent. I believe that Canadian Living made a silly mistake in promoting this product, while attempting to be cool and oooze multicultural goodness. I think it was foolish, poorly researched, and even if it weren't Halal - even if this was the MessiahMastercard - I just think the product is silly. We already have prepaid cards and debit cards and gift certificates, this is just renaming the wheel. However, I cannot say the same for MasterCard which is allowing a portion of proceeds from this card to fund the charity mentioned above. It's called Due Diligence you morons. Do it!!!

Elsewhere on the net:
Moose and Squirrel: Canadian Living Goes Halal
Ghost of a Flea: Dear Canadian Living