Growth Continues in Islamic Finance

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At a recent regional business summit organized by Reuters, participants said Muslim investors are increasingly sophisticated and increasingly inclined to invest their money according to the stricture of Sharia, or Islamic law, say media reports. For example, Islamic law prohibits paying interest, which makes it difficult to trade bonds or other debt instruments. In addition, Islamic law bans investment in companies engaged in gambling, pornography or alcohol products.

Hassan Hakimian, The Cass Business School's associate dean for Off-Campus Programs, told BusinessWeek Islamic finance is growing some 15 percent annually and will continue that growth for at least the next ten years. At the Reuters summit Atif Abdulmalik, chief executive of the private equity group Arcapita, based in Bahrain, said Islamic investing is now "mainstream." Keba Keinde, CEO of Dubai's Millennium Finance Corp, which will invest $10 billion in energy, media and telecommunications over the next five years, added, "In terms of finding leverage, Islamic finance has made progress in adding depth."

A number of business schools are adding courses on Islamic finance, BusinessWeek says. London's Cass school is launching an Executive MBA program in Dubai this fall, saying it sees a demand for more MBAs with experience in the area.

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