Since the end of 2007, several Fortis bank branches are enabling Muslims to create investment funds that are based on Islamic sharia law. Companies that are linked to tobacco, pork, alcohol, weapons, and entertainment are excluded. Citing the importance of its Muslim clientele, Fortis spokesperson Hilde Junius insisted that it was important to offer Islamically permissible investment methods.
THE HAGUE – One was a Somali refugee, the other an Argentine investment banker. Both are now high-profile Dutch women challenging this country to rethink its national identity. Princess Maxima, the Argentine-born wife of Crown Prince Willem Alexander, triggered a round of national soul-searching with a speech last month about what exactly it means to be Dutch in an age of mass migration. “The Netherlands is too complex to sum up in one cliche,” she said. “A typical Dutch person doesn’t exist.”
Non-Muslims both in England and in Islamic countries are increasingly opening Islamic bank accounts, which operate in compliance with Sharia law. Under Sharia Islamic law, making money from money, such as charging interest, is usury and therefore not permitted. Wealth should be generated only through legitimate trade and investment in assets. Sharia also forbids investing money in arms, tobacco, alcohol, gambling, and pornography. Non-Muslims find this version of ethical finance increasingly appealing and are therefore opening such accounts at major UK banks.