Throughout the world, the terms “sukuk,” “Islamic bond,” and “Shariah-Compliant Bond” are used interchangeably to describe a derivative security created by the Shariah Finance industry to expand Islamic participation in the credit markets.
But in Egypt, which is now ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood, the parliament is playing word games in its quest for a law mandating sukuk market in the country.
The Muslim Brotherhood party is making cosmetic changes to a proposed law to establish the sukuk, which amount to removing the word “Islamic” and merely using the word “sukuk.”
This no doubt will fool all too many in the West but informed observers know that there is only one meaning for the word sukuk and adjusting a label changes nothing–nothing at all:
The new Sukuk law will be approved on Wednesday by the cabinet before being referred to the Shura Council on the same day, said Ahmed El-Najjar, member of the economic committee at the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and advisor to the minister of finance.
“The new law is entirely different from the previous one,” he said. “It will not be called an ‘Islamic sovereign sukuk law’; just ‘sukuk law’.”
“This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t respect Islamic legislation,” he continued. “On the contrary, the first article of the law mentions that it is fully Sharia-compliant, and it will have a special [Sharia] committee to oversee its implementation.”
“It will be a comprehensive law that covers all the issuances, governmental and private,” continued El-Najjar, adding that all the recommendations of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA), political parties, the Central Bank, governmental entities and the economic committee of the Shura council, who have all discussed the law recently, were taken into consideration.