Elected officials in the UK have long expressed the desire for London to become a “mecca” of Shariah finance in the West (pun intended). They have bent over backwards to promote Shariah finance for years. Despite these efforts, statistics show that Shariah banks in the UK lag behind their conventional counterparts.
Perhaps this is because the convoluted products that Shariah financial institutions have created are expensive at best and shady at worst.
Nevertheless, the relentless pursuit of Shariah-compliant finance in the UK continues. The latest manifestation of this pursuit has occurred on Britain’s intellectual and academic side, where Oxford has joined the chorus of those desirous of surrendering British heritage to the doctrine known as Shariah through the financial back door.
Discussing the future of Islamic finance in Europe, financial experts have debated aspects of Islamic finance and banking at Oxford Union…
“The skyline of London is being changed by Islamic finance,” Baroness Warsi, Senior Minister of State and Minister for Faith and Communities, and the Ministerial lead on Islamic Finance, was quoted by Gulf Times.
Last October, the British PM, David Cameron has announced plans to encourage investment by Muslim countries, saying he wants to make London “one of the greatest centers for Islamic finance anywhere in the world”.
The United Kingdom is one of the leading countries in the European Union to have Islamic banks. It is also developing its takaful market for Islamic insurance.
The UK also has a strong foothold in developing products such as commodity murabaha – Islam’s version of interbank short-term lending and syndicated loans.
London is also advanced in Islamic retail services, with institutions offering a range of Islamic banking products, such as mortgages and car loans.