As previous reports have indicated, despite pledges not to become overly involved in politics, the Muslim Brotherhood is wading into political waters in Egypt with both feet and part of their agenda is to promote shariah-compliant finance.
This is a sensitive subject in Egypt since some Egyptian shariah scholars have historically viewed many of the rules surrounding shariah-compliant finance to be flat wrong and because investment scams have cropped up from time to time in Egypt centered on shariah compliance.
Nevertheless, the Muslim Brotherhood is a powerful political force to be reckoned with and their use of shariah-compliant finance is to be expected. After all, the reason “islamic economics” was invented in the first place was to insulate the Muslim world from the West and to promote shariah. Since the Muslim Brotherhood’s stated goal is the imposition of shariah law, it makes all the sense in the world that the Muslim Brotherhood would prescribe shariah-compliant finance for the Egyptian economy.
Even so, the introduction of a shariah-based financial system is not without its critics in Egypt:
“It’s much more problematic than what I had expected,” said Dr Magda Kandil, the executive director of the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies in Cairo.
The Egyptian expert said this move would isolate Egypt from global financial markets by barring the use of some financial instruments that could harm growth.
And even a westerner involved in shariah finance agrees. Note that this expert even admits that shariah-compliance does not preclude speculation and unethical behavior:
John Sandwick, an Islamic finance adviser in Switzerland, agrees.
He believes that introducing more Islamic finance would not necessarily solve the country’s economic problems.
“Shari`ah is a method of doing business that doesn’t stop speculative frenzies and impractical or unethical behavior, as we’ve seen all too clearly,” he said.