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Sharia banking gains steam in Algeria

November 29, 2010

Nacer Haidar, an Al-Baraka Bank executive, is calling on Algeria to “enact special laws for some Islamic banking products…”  Special laws, got it?  Not the same standards and laws for all banks.  Not one law for the whole country, but a second set of laws for the Islamists.  That would work out just fine for Al-Baraka, an Islamic banking network which is expanding its presence throughout North Africa.

From Magharebia on Nov. 12:

Islamic banking gains popularity in Algeria

For Algerian consumers seeking to avoid interest payments, sharia-compliant mortgages and other loans remain limited by an inadequate legal, institutional, and regulatory framework. An Islamic financing forum held Tuesday (November 9th) in Algiers examined how to satisfy these clients.

“The law on money and credit permits Islamic banking transactions and products, including mortgages, because these products don’t constitute any breach of the Algerian law, and not because these financial institutions are compliant with the principles of Sharia,” said Zoubir Ben Terdeyet of Isla Invest Consulting, which helped organise the conference.

Ben Terdeyet confirmed that this financial concept is deemed an important alternative solution, as it includes measures that can curb inflation and avoid financial crises that lead to bankruptcy.

Al-Baraka Bank chief Nacer Haidar highlighted the importance of the Islamic banking system in solving the problem financing private-sector businesses. He also emphasised the need to expand the scope of Islamic financing system in Algeria, calling for implementing murabaha (sale on profit) at the level of banks and for using funds to expand production and providing means of work.

”The share of the Algerian banking market doesn’t exceed 1% of the total assets circulated around the world,” Haider said, adding that measures included in the Islamic banking system would put an end to the tax problems with investments and riba-based practices that cause financial crises.

Algerian authorities need to “enact special laws for some Islamic banking products, as was the case with financing through musharaka (joint venture), which complies with the laws and procedures related to investment capital,” Haidar said.

I guess all the jihadi kidnappers in Algeria can’t tolerate depositing their funds into a secular bank.  Glad to know they’ll have new options shortly.

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