FINANCE: ISLAMIC BANKS IN FRANCE FROM 2009
(ANSAmed) – PARIS, NOVEMBER 27 – From next year Islamic banks conforming to sharia law, could be part of the panorama of the French banking system. Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said at the opening of the second French forum of Islamic finance that she had decided to “make a great welcome in Paris to this finance”. Le Parisien reports that there are at least three banks requesting accreditation: the Qatar Islamic Bank which already has offices in London, the Kuwait Finance House, and the Al Baraka Islamic Bank, from Bahrain. Their target is the more than five million muslims resident in France, an attractive market: according to a survey last year by IFOP at least half a million muslims would be interested in loans which respect Sharia law (which forbids loans with interest). From this point of view, said President of the French-Arabic Chamber of Commerce Hervé de Charette, “the arrival of Islamic finance in France would be an integrating factor”. According to Elyes Jouini, a professor of economics at Paris-Dauphine, it is still a frightening prospect because it is against religious integralism and aimed at financing terrorism. The global economic crisis is revolutionising the market though ad from New York to Hong Kong there is a rush for the billions of dollars of the rich oil producing countries of the Gulg. (ANSAmed).