Op-Ed: Islamic banking coming to the UK?

Posted Nov 6, 2013 by Alexander Baron
Islamic banking is set to come to the UK. Even hard line Islamophobes should welcome this, but will it deliver all it promises?
A photograph of David Musa Pidcock.
A photograph of David Musa Pidcock.
David Pidcock
The UK economy is drowning in debt; the American economy is drowning in debt; the world is drowning in debt. The big question is, if everybody is in debt, who is in credit? The simple answer is the banks. The world banking system is one enormous Ponzi scheme. Now, all that could be changing if Islamic banking comes to the City of London.
Last December, Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak of the World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation spoke to the BBC in general terms about its merits. More recently, David Cameron announced the launch of a sharia-compliant £200 million bond issue at a meeting in London of the same organisation.
Alas, there are those who complain that the rhetoric of Islamic banking is not matched by the reality. British Moslem David Pidcock has long complained that in the "Islamic" Republic of Pakistan there is no such thing as Islamic banking, that its financial system is no more halal than a pork chop!
Sadly, he may be right. Islamic banking is nothing new to the UK; the Islamic Bank of Britain claims to be fully sharia-compliant, its market share is minuscule, and until the entire system is thrown out of the window, it will be struggling against the tide.
Nevertheless, this recent announcement is to be welcomed. The leading text on Islamic banking is Banking Without Interest (Revised Edition) by Muhammad Nejatullah Siddiqi. A short appraisal of it by a Western academic can be found here.