First Muslim bank to open in UK

Banking regulators say they have given permission for the first British-based Islamic bank to start operating.

The Islamic Bank of Britain will for the first time give the country’s two million Muslims access to banking in accordance with Islam.

The bank’s headquarters will be in Birmingham, home of one of Britain’s biggest Muslim communities.

The bank will forbid the paying or charging of interest, which is considered usury and banned under Islam.

It has promised not to invest in companies associated with tobacco, alcohol or pornography.

British banks have recently started offering products tailored for Muslims but they are all non-Islamic banks.

‘Competitive rates’

The bank opens its first branch in London’s Edgware Road next month and reportedly intends to offer its services to Muslims across Europe.

Managing director Michael Hanlon told The Times the bank’s services would be offered at “competitive” rates.

“We are not playing the religious card,” he told the newspaper, adding that he hoped the bank’s policies would also appeal to non-Muslims.

In addition to Britain’s Muslim community, the country receives tens of thousands of visitors from the Middle East each year, who may well seek out the bank’s services.

The bank’s backers include investors from the Gulf, and British Muslims.

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Aug. 9, 2004

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday August 9, 2004.
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