The first explores one of the reasons why insurance isn't (currently) a big commodity in predominately Muslim countries: Insurance and Islam. I found it interesting from the cultural point of view. I've never thought much about it - why we "believe in" insurance in the west vs. why people from other cultures don't think the same way. I mean, of course I've heard all of the arguments about insurance carriers being a bunch of crooks who are just out to take people's money and never pay a claim. But it never occurred to me that people might think of purchasing insurance as something akin to sin because it implies a lack of trust in God's will.
Something I find interesting in that article is how insurance is sold in Syria as a kind of cooperative where many people pay into a pool and those who need it draw from the pool (and everyone shares the profits). Well, that's exactly what insurance carriers have always done, though mutual carriers are on the decline so the profit-sharing part doesn't exist as much as it used to in the west. Now one needs to be a shareholder as well as a policyholder to get the profit-sharing.
I am involved with a client who is a different form of insurance carrier where there are a limited number of entities paying in to the pool as well as sharing the insurance benefits. I must admit it's a very satisfying experience for a variety of reasons. The members really like the idea of forming rates based on their own judgment and sharing profits when their judgment is proved correct and losses are reasonable. That kind of carrier is on the rise in the United States for a few reasons and that aspect of not feeling like one's premiums are being paid out just for someone else's advantage is likely a big reason for this increase. In that respect, people in the west and in Muslim countries share some opinions on insurance. This implies to me that there must be some universal aspect to what people consider "fair" or "just"; it would be nice if we could build on that instead of our differences, but I realize that's not really human nature.
I'm not sure how I feel about this next one. For one thing, the article doesn't give a lot of details about the situation so it's hard to have an informed opinion. What I do know is that this kind of worries me in light of what's happening in Texas with the Fundamentalist Mormons and their claims to religious freedom for doing things like marrying off underage girls against their will. Here's the link: Supreme Court fight over a "forced exorcism".