Republican Neel Kashkari is still blasting rival Assemblyman Tim Donnelly’s claim that he was involved in encouraging sharia-compliant finance–that is, banking in accordance with Islamic law–in his role overseeing the Wall Street bailout at the U.S. Treasury, and specifically through a conference on Islamic finance in 2008.
“Tim Donnelly’s accusation that Neel has submitted to Sharia Law and that President George W. Bush held a conference to bring Sharia Law into the U.S. banking system is preposterous on its face,” Kashkari aide Aaron McLear said Friday, after Breitbart News approached the Kashkari campaign for additional comment.
“Neel attended the event organized by President George W. Bush’s Treasury Department….Neel didn’t organize it and was there for five minutes, six years ago,” McLear wrote in an email.
“Neel’s recollection is that it was a conference to educate people who were interested in doing banking in Islamic countries about their local financial laws. For instance, if someone wants to do business in Japan, they must first understand Japan’s local laws. Helping bring U.S. financial services into other countries is an important part of advocating for free and open markets in those countries. It had NOTHING to do with bringing Islamic law to America–and the notion that the Bush Administration would try to bring Islamic law to America is utterly absurd.”
McLear’s description omits the fact that the conference did, in fact, focus on Islamic finance “both in the United States and globally” (emphasis added), apparently due to the growth of sharia-compliant banking in the U.S. to meet increasing demand among local Muslim communities. One of the presentations at the 2008 conference, for example, was from Devon Bank, focusing on the “US market for Islamic financial services.”
Donnelly’s most recent Facebook post on the controversy alludes to ongoing Hollywood protests against recently enacted anti-gay laws in Brunei, and declares: “Given the recent stories and protests about the outrage of the discriminatory nature of Sharia law, we’re horrified that Kashkari would support Sharia anything.”