Global financial crisis broadens appeal of Islamic finance in France

    French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has promised to make adjustments to the regulatory and legal rules to allow Paris to become a major marketplace in Islamic finance. Lagarde added that Western financiers could learn from Islamic banks and its “new principles for the international financial system, based on transparency, responsibility and…moderation.”

    London has attracted the largest pool of Shariah-compliant assets in the West and desire to compete with Britain’s ailing financial center is motivating Paris to become involved. Finance that complies with Shariah, or Islamic law, accounts for around $700 billion of assets and is growing at 10 to 30 percent a year, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Moody’s ratings agency noted in a November report that Islamic financiers will need to quell fears that France’s official religious neutrality could be put at risk.

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