Last year, Prince Charles gave a warm welcome to the World Islamic Economic Forum in London, the first held in a non-Muslim country. “You could not be more welcome to the United Kingdom,” he said.
The Islamic investment business is a global industry worth more than $2 trillion a year, and Britain is looking to cash in. That should come as no surprise given that there are some three million Muslims living in the UK — not to mention that the Islamic finance sector is growing at an average of 30 percent each year.
Islamic law prohibits going into or making money on debt, though profit is allowed. And the Islamic code bans investment in companies that produce or sell forbidden or harmful products, like tobacco, alcohol or weapons.
That’s not as easy as it sounds. Every Islamic financing institution has a board of at least three scholars — men who have spent seven years or more studying religion and economics — to determine what’s halal, or religiously approved.