Why do you have to be a Muslim to object to Wonga?
Posted on July 15th, 2013 | 277 Comments |
I’ve read it many, many times now; passages of media stories about Papiss Cisse alleged objection to wearing a Newcastle United shirt with a Wonga advert on it which usually go along the lines of:
“Islam forbids the lending of money for interest, and Cisse has raised concerns with the club’s hierarchy about United’s new sponsors.”
“Cisse is a practicing Muslim and his reported objections over promoting Wonga stem from Islamic Sharia law which states that Muslims must not benefit from either lending money or receiving money from another person.”
This is usually accompanied by a disingenous or obtuse (it’s hard to tell sometimes) response by an alleged Newcastle United fan which is so common it has become another fallacious, dishonest cliche. This one along the lines of:
“He’s a hypocrite if he refuses to wear Wonga because they charge interest. He wore Virgin Money last season and they charge interest too.”
As if Virgin Money’s interest rates are the same as Wonga’s 5853% (yes, it’s gone up even higher now), as if Virgin constantly target the most desperate and vulnerable members of society in poor regions such as the North East, or Bolton, who taught we more malleable Geordies a lesson by driving Wonga’s rivals “Quick Quid” away from their club. If there was no difference between usurers such as Wonga and banks such as Virgin, the likes of Wonga and Quick Quid wouldn’t exist so that’s enough of that ridiculous and somewhat dishonest argument.
Another argument is that it’s ok because because “Wonga aren’t doing anything illegal.” Putting aside the fact usury of the kind practised by Wonga actually IS illegal in many countries, including 13 states of the United States, does this mean that anything “legal” is acceptable? Would the people who espouse this argument have said the same things about something like the Nuremburg race laws enacted in the Germany of the 1930s? Sadly, I think that they probably would.
Incidentally, if you wanted to know why these loan sharks get such an easy ride to exploit the poor in the UK, take a look at this story.
However, I have digressed wildly because the main point of this piece was supposed to be my bewilderment that it has somehow been made to seem that you have to be a Muslim who espouses Sharia law to object to being a walking billboard for such an odious and pernicious company. Why? Have we really sunk so low as a society that we see objecting to the promotion of a predatory loan shark that feeds off human misery and destitution as a peculiarly Muslim phenomenon?
Have we really become so morally vacuous?