Promoting Islamic Finance and Islamic Banking. A legal analysis of the potential for Islamic Banking products in Germany
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AbstractIn recent years, Islamic banking has been one of the fastest growing markets in the financial world. Even to German banks, Islamic finance is not as 'foreign' as one might think. Indeed, several banks are already operating so-called “Islamic windows” in various Arab countries. However, German banks are still reluctant to offer 'Islamic' products in Germany, despite the fact that approximately 3.5 million Muslims currently live there. Potential reasons for this reluctance include widespread misunderstanding of Islamic banking in Germany and prevailing cultural prejudice towards Islam generally. The author seeks to address these concerns and to take an objective approach towards understanding the potential for Islamic banking in Germany. Legally, Islamic law cannot be the governing law of any contract in Germany. Therefore, the aim must be to draft contracts that are both enforceable under German law and consistent with the principles of Shari'a – the Islamic law. In this paper, the author gives a detailed legal analysis of the most common Islamic banking products and how they could be given effect under German law, while attempting to address widespread concerns about arbitration or parallel Shari'a courts. This publication is one of the first legal analysis of Islamic banking products in Germany. As such, its goal is not to be the final word, but rather to begin the conversation about potential problems and conflicts of Islamic banking in Germany that require further investigation.
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