Shariah bank given UK license
Associated Press 04.22.08, 2:10 PM ET
the true feelings of Islam in Britain
Britain’s financial services regulator has granted Gatehouse Bank PLC a license to become the fifth standalone Islamic bank in London, the bank said Tuesday. The Financial Services Authority confirmed that the bank – which is a subsidiary of the Kuwait-based investment company, The Securities House KSCC – is now allowed to take deposits.
The Shariah-compliant bank said in a statement that it intends to focus on business opportunities throughout the Gulf region, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia and other emerging markets.
Islamic Sharia law forbids banks from charging or paying interest, and investment in businesses linked to alcohol, gambling, pork, weapons or usury. Deals also must be based on acquiring or creating physical assets.
London is the largest Islamic finance market in the Western world and Shariah-compliant financing is increasingly seen as a key support for the city in its competition with other centers such as New York.
More than two-thirds of Islamic finance deals are centered in the Middle East. But the oil rich region is increasingly looking to international capital markets to finance its grander development projects.
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