There have been plenty of arguments against the government bailout of AIG, but religion would appear as an unlikely one. Well, not for a Michigan man who claims the deal is illegal because AIG has financial products that promote Islam and are anti-Christian.
The federal lawsuit filed this week against U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. and the Federal Reserve Board, argues the government is violating the First Amendment by using taxpayer money to bailout AIG, which promotes Islamic sharia-compliant businesses and insurance products. The suit was filed this week in Detroit by the Thomas More Law Center, a law firm “dedicated to the defense and promotion of the religious freedom of Christians,” on behalf of a former U.S. Marine.
"This lawsuit not only raises significant constitutional issues, it also shines a light on serious national security issues that our own government has created by direct financial support and ownership of a business that supports anti-American, radical Islamic activities,” says Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, classical sharia prohibits the charging of interest, which it considers to be usury. It also condemns excessive profits and requires Muslims to invest only in ventures that are consistent with Islamic principles; for example, investing in a brewery or casino is forbidden. In October 2006, AIG launched AIG Takaful, a Bahrain-based subsidiary specializing in sharia-compliant products including insurance for accident, health, casualty, property and more. The group started with $15 million in capital. Click here for more.
A spokesperson for the U.S Treasury Department was unable to respond at press time.
Click here to read the full complaint.