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Islamic Finance in the Global Economy$
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Ibrahim Warde

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780748612161

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612161.001.0001

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Islamic Finance and Politics: Guilt by Association

Islamic Finance and Politics: Guilt by Association

(p.214) 11 Islamic Finance and Politics: Guilt by Association
Islamic Finance in the Global Economy

Ibrahim Warde

Edinburgh University Press

Critics of Islamic finance focus on the political mischief of Islamic banks on domestic and international terrain. The suspicion surrounding Islamic banks rests on the syllogism: political Islam at the domestic and international level requires financial resources, Islamic banks are committed to Islam and have vast financial resources; therefore, Islamic banks are likely to advance the political goals of potentially subversive Islamic groups. Do Islamic banks have a domestic or international political agenda? Do they play a role in promoting radical Islam and international terrorism? The answer is that they usually do not. Banks, by virtue of being part of the existing power structure, have a strong status quo orientation. However, there are exceptions to that general rule. As will become evident in the succeeding discussions, the benign view is not widely shared among authoritarian leaders, who often see financial Islam as a destabilising force. This chapter discusses the connection between Islamic finance and politics in domestic and international contexts, comparing the evolution of financial Islam in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Sudan and Indonesia. It also discusses the role of Islamic finance in the New World Order and in the post-September 11 world, where Islamic financial institutions have often been considered ‘guilty by association’.

Keywords:   Islamic finance, political Islam, international political agenda, politics, New World Order, post-September 11, guilty by association

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