Islamic banking set to boom in Canada

Expert says it would be a win-win, opening Canada to more Shariah-compliant capital investment

After emerging largely unscathed from the financial crisis that hammered North American and European financial institutions, Islamic banking has momentum.

Worth $1 trillion in assets, Islamic banking is being lauded by British Prime Minister David Cameron and supported by Canada’s Conservative government, major banks and credit unions, leading business schools and influential Muslims across the country.

Islamic banking — which bans interest payments, pure monetary speculation and investing in such things as alcohol, gambling, pornographic media and pork — is being sold as the next big thing in financing for Canada, which is home to just over a million Muslims…

…“I think many Muslims in Metro Vancouver are excited about the idea of Islamic banking. In general, I think it’s a good idea,” says Luay Kawasme, director of the Vancouver Muslim Community Centre…

…“By opening more to Islamic finance,” he says, “Canada will be able to attract significant amounts of Shariah capital into its energy and natural resources sectors — on a win-win basis.”

Hejazi notes the pressure for Islamic banking is also simply arising out of the country’s demographic religious shift. Muslims already account for seven per cent of the population of Metro Toronto and five per cent of those in Metro Vancouver.

The Muslim population of Canada, he says, is projected by 2030 to mushroom to more than 2.7 million.