Hypocrisy of religion

Rode a cab from my uncle’s residence in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) early in the morning at 4 am. The Cab driver, a gentleman in his mid fifties (or early sixties) and I exchanged plesantaries. I explained to him why I was visiting India from the US and asked him about his hometown (“native place” in Indian slang), how long he had been driving the cab, his family and kids etc. He went on to tell me that he and his wife had moved to Trivandrum to be close to his grandkids, and he had taken on cab driving to keep himself occupied. He went on to tell me about his lifestory. And that is when my eyes popped….

He was of Islamic faith and had an undergraduate degree in mathematics from a prestigious college in Trivandrum. He was able to land a job with a leading bank at that time (in mid 70s). He then went on to tell me that, though he loved his job, he had immense pressure from elders in the family to give up his banking job as it was against the religion — Islam is against lending money for interest! After a few years of constant haranguing by family and the broader community, he quit his job (he said that he could not tolerate the stress). Like several members of his family, he then moved to Saudi Arabia to take on an administrative job which his extended family was thrilled about.

And herein lies the irony and hypocrisy… The kingdom of Saudi Arabia through its sovereign funds was a major shareholder of Citibank (a bank that offers credit cards with interest rates greater than 15%) for quite some time and Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal was a member of the board of Citigroup!

Do as we say and not as we do!

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