The financial jihadis are celebrating at the World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference in Bahrain. They are celebrating the meteoric growth of Shariah-Compliant Finance, a development that the West should be deploring, since the main purpose of Shariah-Compliant Finance is to promote Shariah itself.
Estimates announced at the conference indicate that investors globally hold more than $1.5 trillion in Shariah-compliant assets and currently there are more than 500 funds globally that comply with Shariah. 1/3 of those funds were launched in the past 7 years alone.
Perhaps the most significant growth comes in the arena of Islamic bonds, known as sukuk. Just a few years ago, Mufti Taqi Usmani had stated that most sukuk were not Shariah-compliant and his announcement was followed by a rash of defaults in the sukuk market. The sukuk industry looked dead in the water as recently as 2009.
Not so any more.
It is estimated that the global sukuk market exceed $200 billion by the end of the first quarter of this year, with $43 billion of that number being issued in that quarter alone. This is almost double the average amount of sukuk issued in any given quarter in the past year, and represents half the total amounts of sukuk issued throughout 2011.