Islamophobia in Europe: what impact on the Islamic finance industry? – Doha News

With Islamophobic sentiments tainting the Islamic finance market, Muslim-owned businesses in Europe are suffering the consequences.

The global Islamic finance market is likely to experience stable and potentially sustainable growth in 2022, according to 2022 edition of S&P Global Ratings.

The financial industry, which conforms to Islamic law, is expected to grow 10-12% this year.

It is expected to expand beyond its immediate progress, depending on the extent of Islamic banking asset growth in GCC member states and whether sukkuk (Islamic bonds) perform well, says separate report S&P Global Report.

The Islamic finance industry witnessed an expansion of 17.3% in 2019, reaching $2.2 trillion with a growth of 10.6% in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The total value of all Islamic financial assets in the world amounts to approximately $2.5 trillion.

In the global Islamic finance market, the GCC countries contribute heavily to the statistics, mainly due to their highly concentrated Muslim population. GCC’s global market share in Islamic banking has reached 25%.

Islamic banking holds a 6% share of global banking assets, according to 2022 estimates.

The Islamic finance industry in Europe

In Europe, where approximately 25.7 million Muslims live according to Statistics According to the 2016 Muslim population estimate, the Islamic finance industry is most engaged in the UK, where the majority of Islamic finance education institutions in Europe predominate.

The UK is picking up the slack when it comes to universities and professional qualifications centered on Islamic finance.

“[It] is the leading center for education and training in Islamic finance, with four professional institutions and nearly 70 universities and business schools offering courses and degrees in Islamic finance,” reports State.

The United Kingdom issued its first sukuk worth £200 million as early as 2014, making it the first non-Islamic country to issue Islamic bonds, cementing the UK as a European center for Islamic finance.

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With about four millions For Muslims living in the UK, the fully Sharia-compliant retail bank, Al-Rayan Bank (formerly known as Islamic Bank of Britain), has been offering an Islamic approach to banking since 2004.

The Shard, London’s landmark 95-storey skyscraper, was 95% funded by Qatar and built solely with Shariah-compliant funds.

While Al-Rayan is proving thriving in the fertile Islamic finance environment in the UK, the bank is a target of Islamophobia.

The Qatari bank Al-Rayan has been ruthlessly targeted by British newspapers, the most prominent of which is the The temperature, by author Andrew Norfolk who presents a well-documented history of Islamophobic sentiments.

In June 2021, Qatar is accused by the author of financing “jihadists” in Syria. It has further been criticized for its alleged funding of the Ummah Welfare Trust, whose alleged ties to Gaza and Hamas have secured a position on the United States’ infamous Terrorist Organizations/Person List.

Islamophobia in France

The Islamic finance industry is struggling to cope with the Islamophobic atmosphere in other parts of Europe, mainly France.

Islamophobia has been a fixture in the French Parliament in recent years.

France has been accused of systematically targeting its Muslim population due to a wave of marginalization policies carried out by President Emmanuel Macron to combat supposed “separatism and Islamism”, according to a recent report by the British advocacy group, Cagedeclared.

The report highlights Macron’s use of executive powers to create a policy of “filibuster” targeting Muslim groups and entities in France over the past four years. Some of these policies include the Anti-Separatism Law and the Imam’s Charter, which was created in November 2021 and drafted by the state-backed French Council for Muslim Worship. The charter obliges religious leaders to “subordinate” themselves to “French Islam”, a concept fabricated by the government in the hope of equating Islam with republicanism.

The policies initially aimed to address the reasons for the departure of a number of French Muslims to fight in Syria and Iraq from specific areas in France. They then took on a more national project role aimed at combating “Islamism” and “communal withdrawal” across the country.

Since then, Paris has injected a series of infamous laws into the system in order, according to the group, “to isolate Muslim institutions and grant the state with sweeping powers to monitor and shut down institutions, unilaterally dissolve organizations, and seize money under the guise of preserving Republican values ​​and combating Islamism and/or separatism.

Cage further added that the policies have been put into effect to justify the closure of at least a dozen mosques, hundreds of Muslim-owned businesses and charities, and the seizure of millions of dollars. assets because of their alleged promotion of “Islamism”. .

Halal Managed Businesses face the consequences of systematic Islamophobia sponsored by government entities, with claims directed at their nature of work. For example, “Hundreds of child deaths each year due to the consumption of ‘halal meat'”, was the title of the parliamentary question submitted by Franz Obermayr to the European Commission on April 24, 2012, in which he claimed that ” according to media reports, it is generally assumed that hundreds of children die every year in France after consuming halal meat.

In 2019, a major French sports company, Decathlon, was forced to halt its introduction of sportswear designed for Muslim women, which included a runner’s suit as well as a headscarf, bowing to harsh criticism from politicians and officials. personalities of the French government. , reports declared.

Talk to Doha News, Rayan Freschi, researcher at CAGE, said: “Since February 2018, the French state has engaged in a draconian Islamophobic policy that targets Muslim civil society. The policy can be described as a strategy of maximum pressure on Muslim civil society to make daily work intolerably difficult, suffocating a community weakened by decades of systemic bigotry.”

“This is de facto Islamophobic state-led persecution.”

He added that “no Muslim is spared from the clutches of the French racist system”, stating that, the mosques [and] Islamic schools [as well as] businesses run by Muslims are controlled and shut down by the [French] State.

“We believe that most of the 24,877 establishments checked and most of the 718 establishments closed are indeed Muslim-run businesses. 46 million euros were also confiscated by the state.

Through such targeted treatment of Muslim businesses, the French government is essentially weakening the foundations of an “already impoverished community, forcing it to rely on the welfare state,” Freschi said. Doha News.

He further states that this “manufactured Islamophobic environment, where a Muslim is forced to rely on the government, economically, stifles a thriving community that could potentially have an impact on a political scale.”

Under the guise of secularism, countries like France prevent Muslim communities from accessing their legitimate share of the Islamic financial industry.

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Mary I. Bruner