Islamic Finance: Is it Just for Muslims?
The main reasons today for Muslims leaving the western-style interest banking system is not just the fact that Muslim's believe that paying or collecting interest is wrong. It's likely the fact that European and American style of interest banking is nearly a complete failure today. As one woman put it, “I definitely feel safer.”
Islamic finance permits religious practices to influence business decisions. Thus, bans on interest and pure monetary speculation are put into business practice in an Islamic bank. Proponents of Islamic finance hope that the recent debt crisis in the world will spur growth of their industry as a safe and stable alternative to conventional finance. Moreover, movements like Occupy Wall Street which protests the income inequality created by the capitalist system are likely to aid the market share of Islamic financial services.
The assets of Islamic finance globally totals nearly one trillion dollars. However, Islamic finance is dwarfed by its larger competitors in conventional finance which hold tens of trillions of dollars. With the transformations of previous Arab governments in North Africa likely to promote Islamic finance, more growth should be coming their way.
In addition, with participants such as HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Credit Agricole and others entering the bond market, Islamic finance could be going mainstream. So no, Islamic Finance is not just for Muslims.