The effort by some in the United Kingdom to allow Shariah to infiltrate their legal system and culture through the financial back door continues apace. The latest push saw London’s deputy mayor travel to an “Islamic finance” conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to promote his hometown as a center for Shariah-compliant finance. From ArabianBusiness.com:
Britain is encouraging banks through a task force to establish sharia-compliant products, aiming to position London as a Western hub for a fast-growing Islamic finance sector …
“We want to be the leading (Islamic) finance sector outside of the Muslim world,” deputy mayor of London Edward Lister said in a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Britain’s Islamic finance task force, established in March, is led by several ministers and industry figures as well as top executives from Gatehouse Bank and Oakstone Merchant Bank Ltd.
It was launched ahead of London hosting the World Islamic Economic Forum in October and its mandate is to facilitate Islamic financial business, including investment in British infrastructure by Islamic sovereign wealth funds.
Islamic finance has already played a role in several major deals in London, with Qatari investors taking part in funding the city’s Shard tower, Harrod’s department store and the athletes’ village used for last year’s summer Olympics.
A Malaysian consortium is also spearheading the redevelopment of London’s Battersea power station, after acquiring the site for 400 million pounds last year. Malaysia is the second largest investor in London’s real estate market behind the United States.
“The task force has just started and its aim is to make it easier for banks in London to have Islamic products, which is still quite a new concept to any of them,” Lister said.
Britain currently has 22 financial institutions, including five fully sharia-compliant banks, offering Islamic finance products. They are supported by 30 London law firms offering expertise on the sector.