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Islamic banking and finance to continue growth

   PARIS, February 26, 2008 – Islamic banking and finance, which respects
sharia laws banning usury, is growing fast and will continue to do so,
international credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service said on Tuesday.
   It said the Islamic finance market had grown 15 percent in each of the past
three years, with global volumes at 97.3 billion dollars (65.74 billion
dollars) by the end of 2007.
   The market has shown no sign of slowing down, reflecting in part the huge
revenues the Middle East states are generating from their oil and gas exports,
it added.
   Islamic banking fuses principles of sharia or Islamic law and modern
banking but Islamic funds are banned from investing in companies associated
with tobacco, alcohol or gambling considered taboo by Muslims.