Monday, 21 June 2010

Shallwe Sharia?

New banks that were set up to appeal to the UK's nearly two million Muslims and Sharia-compliant products created by the existing high street lenders have failed to make much of an impact, critics say.

The main aims of Islamic finance include the avoidance of riba, or usury, and making sure that money is not used to support industries considered to be unethical, such as alcoholic beverages, pornography and gambling. HSBC Amanah, probably the most credible and efficient provider of halal banking in the UK, has dramatically reduced its dedicated Islamic banking staff in Britain, and its marketing volume has been turned way down.

Mohammad Qayyum, the director-general of the Institute of Islamic Banking and Insurance in the UK, said that there had not been "a concerted campaign by banks to make people aware" of available products. Another hurdle is that banks often price their Islamic products more expensively than alternatives, he said.

I find it difficult that Sharia, the backbone of how to live Muslim-style, needs a campaign to make them aware of the facility. Also, given that banks would have to employ extra staff to debate these accounts, it would seem reasonable to expect cheap service. I realise that my bank will invest my funds in something that will make money for them but who should pay where income from interest is not halal? Sharia also demands that all parties in a financial transaction must share all of the associated risks. Huh! how likely is that post-Northern Rock.

The linked article reports "However, there could be some improvement with legislative changes designed to make it easier for banks to offer Islamic products, which should reduce their price.
The Treasury has made changes in the tax law to accommodate Sharia products, Mr Qayyum said, and the FSA is consulting on a new framework for the issuance and regulation of sukuk, or Islamic bonds. Be interesting to know just what these moves entail and the costs to my taxes. I would soon end up in chokey were I to increase my income at the expense of another.

Adoption of Sharia in UK is still loudly and frequently demanded. There is agitation for the adoption of Sharia in non-Western societies, and its impact in four areas:
* Family and schooling
* Institutionalization of Shariah by non-Muslim governments ("Parallel Shariah")
* Criminal aspects
* Approach to Women"

Sharia courts operate in some areas of the UK. It is unlikely that the Government will do anything to dismiss these alien ideas which action would attract wailing and beating of breasts from the usual parties. The failure of these religious attitudes in banking must surely go a long way in demonstrating that there is little they can offer in any area of UK life for the majority.

The fact that the system seems to work elsewhere in the world must be associated with the fact that in those places there is no alternative. Sharia or die; if a female, most likely both. There is no place in our secular society for giving dominance to a foreign religion's ideas. We know all about the Spanish Inquisition thank you

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