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Bringing banking in line with Islamic law

by Brad A. Greenberg

August 22, 2007 | 7:01 pm

That’s the duty of John Weguelin, the managing director of European Islamic Investment Bank. The long-awaited second issue of Portfolio (that’s another story) has a short profile on the dapper Londoner. But after reading that Weguelin’s bank is in accordance with sharia, my only question was: huh?

(F)or a clear sign of what makes E.I.I.B. different, just turn to the bank’s first annual report, in which briefings from the chairman and company secretary open with “In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful” and calculations of shareholders’ zakah, an annual charitable donation required of all Muslims, are supplied. The cornerstone of the bank’s Islamic nature lies in its transactions and ventures, which are guarded by its Sharia Board—four Islamic scholars who vet funds and deals to make sure they don’t contravene Koranic bans on earning interest and making profit from alcohol, pork, or unethical activities.

That makes sense. But can they employ a Sharia Goy to do the unholy business?

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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