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Shedding light on The Europe-Muslim
World Democracy Forum

Shedding light on The Europe-Muslim World Democracy Forum

Published: 9th March 2019
Area: Banking & Financial Services
Author: Mohammed Saqub

Our head of Islamic finance, Mohammed Saqub, took to Brussels to speak at The Europe-Muslim World Democracy Forum about emerging markets in the Muslim world.

The conference enabled many parties to come together to discuss their shared values and mutual interests to help to promote democracy and stability, and to overcome the tension and polarisation between the Muslim world and Western nations.

The event was hosted by ECR Group and senior MEPs Syed Kamal and Amjad Bashir.

Here are Mohammed’s top five takeaways:

  1. Although an Islamic finance specialist, this is more about inclusivity than anything. At Shakespeare Martineau, Mohammed’s team has completed well over £2 billion worth of Islamic finance transactions in the UK and the main driver is to ensure that financial opportunities and inclusion is available for all communities. There is no doubt that the uncertainty around trading with Europe is presenting even more opportunity to solidify commerce connections with the Middle East.
  2. There is a pent-up demand in the UK for more inward investment from the Middle East. By removing, or at least relaxing, the complex tax hurdles that unfairly affected Islamic finance transactions, valuable commercial partnerships have been able to flourish.
  3. Islam prohibits price controls and discourages barriers to trade, meaning that if such partnerships are embraced, the opportunities can be limitless. Islam states that prices are governed by the hand of God and a principle not a million miles away from the later Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’. Free market capitalism is reconcilable with Islam.
  4. With the UK leaving Europe, the Government has to continue to work on trade agreements with counties outside of the EU with more focus than ever.
  5. The outlook for this sector is particularly strong. A growing feeling in Muslim countries about the need to return to traditionalism, coupled with young populations in counties that are displaying GDP growth, is likely to fuel growth. The key to reaching successful trade deals with European and the Muslim world is ensuring that they are just fair and free.
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