Christian legal experts warn against Islamic finance

The British Government will be capitulating to Islamic religious law if they change the current financial regulations to accommodate sharia finance and issue Islamic or 'sukuk' bonds, warn Christian Concern for our Nation and the Christian Legal Centre.

The Government has publicised its support for Islamic or shariah compliant finance and has stated its intention to facilitate the growth of the sector so that London remains Europe’s gateway to international Islamic finance. The Government has already passed a number of enactments and laid several sets of regulations in order to create a ‘level playing field’ in tax and regulatory law for Islamic products vis-a-vis conventional ones.

The Treasury and the Financial Services Authority are currently seeking to establish how best to regulate an issue by the British Government of Islamic bonds. They say that these bonds share the legal framework of collective investment schemes, yet mirror debt securities or asset-backed securities in economic substance.

The authorities believe that accommodating sharia finance by issuing such bonds will benefit society, will increase liquidity for the Treasury and will enable Muslims to be financially enfranchised.

Christian Concern for our Nation and the Christian Legal Centre, in a written submission to the Treasury and the Financial Services Authority, give what they describe as a ‘prophetic warning’ over what could radically change the fundamental basis of British society through its financial regulation.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and director of the two organisations, said the accommodation of sharia compliant finance by the British Government "represents a capitulation to Islamic religious law".

"The shariah scholars who mastermind this kind of finance desire to see the Islamisation of the UK and its submission to sharia law," she said.

"The authority given to sharia scholars by financial institutions and the plans announced by the authorities to appoint such clerics to advise them shows just how far adrift we have sailed as a nation from tolerance, via multiculturalism to accommodation and soon to subjugation.”

Mrs Williams reminded the treasury that in 2003 the European Court of Human Rights found that sharia law was "incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy as set forth in the Convention. It considered that "principles such as pluralism in the political sphere or the constant evolution of public freedoms have no place in it".

In October last year, the House of Lords also found sharia klaw to be incompatible with human rights, stating that it was "arbitrary and discriminatory".

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