“France seeks to woo Islamic investments”
As France debates whether to ban the burqa, the government is leading a drive to attract billions in investment from Muslim countries by turning Paris into the European capital of Islamic finance.
The French parliament this month has approved changes to legislation to allow Islamic “sukuk” bonds to be issued and the Qatar Islamic Bank has applied to be the first such bank to open in France.
Home to Europe’s biggest Muslim minority, France is hoping to unseat London as the European hub for Islamic banking, offering products that comply with Shariah law and meet the needs of big investors mostly from Gulf countries.
But the drive is raising hackles, with some opposition politicians accusing the government of undermining France’s much prized secularism to accommodate wealthy interests.