05/21/2010, 00.00

Islamic finance growing, looking to non-Muslims

The sector, which is worth more than a trillion dollars, is growing rapidly. According to Moody’s, it could grow fivefold. Participants at the World Islamic Economic Forum hear how it could become an instrument for long-term economic stability.
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) – In the midst of a world crisis, Islamic financing is growing.  “In some countries, growth is as much as 10-15 per cent annually,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in opening the annual World Islamic Economic Forum in Kuala Lumpur.

Forum participants encourage Muslim countries to back Islamic financing, counting on the positive trend of the sector, which could also interest non-Muslims. “The time is right for this," Razak said.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Islamic finance is a fast-growing sector, and that it should strive to attract all investors including non-Muslims. "Muslim nations have a good opportunity to achieve greater growth," he said.

Moody's Investors Service has forecasted Islamic finance has a market potential of five trillion dollars.

Muslim countries must continue to play a leading role in transforming this sector from being considered niche banking into something that is widely accepted as central to long-term economic stability around the world

Islamic banking, a booming trillion-dollar industry, prohibits the payment and collection of interest, and bans gambling, so highly complex instruments such as derivatives and other creative accounting practices are banned.

The sector also shuns investments in gambling, alcohol and pornography in favour of ethical and socially useful investments.

Real assets must back transactions, whilst the customer and the institution share the risk of any investment and divide any profits between them.

Printable version
See also
Muslim students and clerics against civil courts
If elected Islamic party wants impose headscarves and ban miniskirt
Malaysia, Abdullah freezes Islamic bill
Proposal to apply sharia to non-Muslims also
Malaysian government bans Hindu movement