Perspectives

How usury enslaves economies worldwide

By Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu’min Muhammad -Guest Columnist- | Last updated: Jun 26, 2013 - 10:03:32 PM

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The Honorable Elijah Muhammad declared “What The Muslims Want” and “What The Muslims Believe” and placed it on the back page of the Muhammad Speaks Newspaper, and these words are now found on the back inside cover of The Final Call Newspaper

One of the beliefs includes:

“3. WE BELIEVE in the truth of the Bible, but we believe that it has been tampered with and must be reinterpreted so that mankind will not be snared by the falsehoods that have been added to it.”

We know that Black people, who were physically captured and brought to America as slaves, were physically and mentally kept in bondage by White people and not even allowed to read the Bible. So who is this “mankind” that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is referring to? Mr. Muhammad defined “mankind” as the made-man, the Adamic race—the White race. Could it be that White people who read the Bible and say they are following the Bible have been “snared by the falsehoods that have been added to it?” 

In a recent book titled Usury in Christendom: The Mortal Sin that Was and Now is Not, author Michael Hoffman exposes how the reinterpretation of one word, “usury,” has led to the financial and economic enslavement of the Western World to a set of international bankers. Before 1515 the lending of money charging interest, or usury, was officially condemned by the Christian church. A good man was described as:

He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man,

Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God. (Ezekiel 18:8-9)

However, there is a loophole in the Bible which permits Jews to extract “usury” from non-Jews, or Gentiles.  There are three Biblical passages which forbid the taking of interest in the case of Jewish “brethren” but which permit, or seemingly enjoin, usury when the borrower is a Gentile—namely, Exod. 22:25; Lev. 25:36-37; and Deut. 23:20-21.  

These loopholes not only allowed Jews to loan money to Gentiles extracting interest or usury, but also provided the Gentile aristocracy and even the Pope a way to make the Jews their bankers while they kept their “heavenly hands” out of a business considered robbery in the Bible. For 1,500 years lending money and taking interest were left to the Jews. According to Jewish historian Cecil Roth, “The Jew was the classic money-lender of the Middle Ages, and the classic profession of the medieval Jew was money-lending.” Professor Kenneth Stow of Haifa University states, “Lending was perceived as a Jewish act; lenders themselves were considered (even legally) to be Jews.”

In A History of Credit and Power in the Western World, Scott B. MacDonald and Albert L. Gastmann discuss Europe in the Middle Ages: “Licensed to lend, the Jews became cursed as ‘bloodsuckers’ and ‘usurers’ living off the debts of the Christians.”

Even with the advent of Islam—which strictly prohibits the taking of interest (Holy Qur’an, chapters 2:275-76, 3:130, 30:39; 4:160-62)—Arab caliphates also used Jews to do their banking. And as Professor As’ad Abdul Rahman wrote in a Gulf News article titled “Nazism embedded in Ashkenazi mind,” “The Ashkenazi Jews, who became the only bankers lending money with interest to both, Christians and Muslims, did indeed prosper. … Whenever the Russian aristocracy needed money, they borrowed from the Ashkenazis. When the debt became big, they instigated a pogrom, in which Jewish bankers were the first to be slaughtered to erase the debt for good.” Mr. Hoffman likewise points out that historically the Jews were not hated for their “Jewishness,” but hated for their practice of “usury.”

According to Mr. Hoffman, the Hebrew word for “usury” is “neshek,” meaning literally “a bite,” because of its painfulness to the debtor. And “usury” was “interest”—not “excessive” or “exorbitant interest,” but all interest, even if it is just one percent. If you were a Christian and found guilty of practicing usury, you were not only excommunicated from the church, but not even allowed to be given a “Christian” burial, and your body was thrown in an open pit with dead animals.

The Church’s injunction against usury went on for 1,500 years after the death of Jesus, and Muslims kept Europe bottled in from the rest of the world for almost 1,000 years until Europeans found America in 1492 and the Church authorized the African slave trade. Now the Church wanted to be a part of financing the exploration and exploitation of a New World, so Pope Leo X issued a Papal bull in 1515 declaring that the “moderate rate of interest” charged by the Church’s “Charity Banks” was not sinful but meritorious and anyone calling it sinful would be excommunicated. Since that time, “usury” was only “excessive or exorbitant interest” if it was an interest rate above that established by “civil authorities.”

Interest is described by the ancient writers of the Bible as a “snake bite,” because at first the bite may seem as a small inconvenience but as time goes on its poison can prove both painful and even deadly. In her new book Occupying Money, Professor Margrit Kennedy writes that a stunning 35 percent to 40 percent of everything we buy goes to interest.  This interest goes to bankers, financiers and bondholders. This helps explain how wealth is systematically transferred from Main Street to Wall Street. Tradesmen, suppliers, wholesalers and retailers all along the chain of production rely on credit to pay their bills.  Each supplier in the chain adds interest to his production costs, which are passed on to the ultimate consumer, the working class.

Now, enter the Federal Reserve System, which is actually a private bank that prints the nation’s money, then charges the government interest for using that money. It then loans this same money out to other banks at interest. Now these banks lend this money out to businesses and individuals at interest. Over time this small “bite” becomes deadly.  If “compound interest” on $1 is tallied yearly at a “legal” rate of 6 percent turns into $35,000 in 100 years. So if 1,000 people take out such a $1 loan, the bankers receive $35 million. So when a government, like the U.S., takes out billions of dollars in loans on behalf of its people, the bankers get infinitely rich while the government extracts payment on the debt from the people in the form of taxes.

Although we know that the loan sharks in the ghetto extract exorbitant profits, their bite is small compared to the biggest bite that comes from the inflationary effect on the commodities purchased by the masses as the cost of goods goes up faster than their wages. Consider how the prices of gasoline, a Hershey bar, and bread have gone up over time. At first, over the first 30 years, between 1930 and 1960, the increase is negligible; however, starting about 1970 the cost begins to shoot up exponentially. This plunges us into the state of hyperinflation that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad warned us about in The Fall of America.

As America celebrates the 100th birthday of the Federal Reserve, we have seen a “snake” born in 1913 grow into a “dragon” in 2013. While Blacks were being lynched and cheated in the system of sharecropping in the South in the early 1900s, a group of rich bankers at the same time laid out a plan to snatch the wealth of the whole country. By the false interpretation of one word, “usury,” mankind has been snared, bitten, and its vital economic fluids drained. Every dollar that you spend on basic commodities is draining your resources while passing your wealth to super-rich moneylenders. Don’t you think that this world needs a “dragon slayer”?

(Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad, Ph.D. is an agricultural economist and member of the Nation of Islam Research Group. Visit http://www.noirg.org to join the conversation or find the Research Group at FaceBook.com/NOIResearch and Twitter @ NOIResearch.)

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