Islamic and Ethical Finance in the United Kingdom

Islamic and Ethical Finance in the United Kingdom

Islamic and Ethical Finance in the United Kingdom

Islamic and Ethical Finance in the United Kingdom

Synopsis

This book examines a wide range of financial institutions in Britain which fall broadly within the ethical sector, considering the nature of their principles and practices, and how they relate to Islamic models and to Muslim communities. Islamic finance is routinely described as ethical: a beneficial association given that 'ethical' finance is one of the few financial sectors with a positive image and is a large and growing sector of the market. Yet the claim that 'Islamic' and 'ethical' are synonymous is only now being seriously examined, as is the claim that there exists a consistent and generally understood definition of 'ethical' practice. This guide includes case studies from retail banking, mutual associations such as building societies and credit unions, investment funds, high interest lenders and debt counselling, social enterprise, charities and the wider phenomenon of ethical consumerism.

Excerpt

Discussion of the term ‘ethical’

Islamic finance is routinely described as ethical. This reflects the fact that self-described ‘ethical’ finance is a large and growing sector of the market. It has a very positive image with which Islamic financial services seek to associate themselves. The claim that ‘Islamic’ and ‘ethical’ are synonymous is rarely seriously examined, and nor is the claim that there exists a consistent and generally understood definition of ‘ethical’ practice. The case studies in this book have been chosen because they shed light on the difficulties of arriving at a consensus definition of what ‘ethical’ means and of positioning the Islamic sector as a sub-set of the ethical sector. At its worst the term ‘ethical’ has become little more than a marketing label. This detailed consideration of providers which all position themselves as ‘ethical’ is intended to get beyond this to see what the term means in the diverse practice of these providers.

There is no doubt about the extent of public interest in alternative financial services which are perceived to be more principled and more socially useful than the conventional kind. The banking crisis of 2008 and subsequent scandals and crises in the major banks have led to a great deal of . . .

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