LONDON (AP) — Britain is launching a new Islamic Market Index in London.
Prime Minister David Cameron says London is "the biggest center for Islamic finance outside the Islamic world" and he wants it to "stand alongside Dubai as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world."
Islamic finance conforms to Islamic law which forbids charging interest and requires deals to be based on tangible assets. Speculation is banned, as is dealing in futures.
The London index would track the ups-and-downs of Shariah-compliant investments. It is being launched on the London Stock Exchange.
Cameron also says plans are underway to make Britain the first country outside of the Muslim world to issue an Islamic bond.
Islamic finance is small compared with the world of mainstream finance, but it is expected to hold growing appeal for Gulf investors seeking to invest oil revenue or pious Muslims who want retail Islamic banking services.
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