The role, the importance, the status and the characteristics of Islamic financial banking differ from one country to another. In some countries, the role of Islamic financial banking in the national economy may be significant, while in others, it is deemed insignificant. Its ‘special character’ may be recognised or may not be acknowledged by the regulators. Some countries are strongly encouraged by the authorities, while in others, they are barely tolerated. One of the themes running through this book is the diversity of the Islamic finance. Even those countries that have fully Islamicised their financial systems did so under different religious, political, economic and cultural milieu. In most cases, Islamicisation did not occur in a carefully thought out application of Islamic principles and jurisprudence, but in an ad hoc manner and as a result of situational factors. This chapter discusses the experiences of countries that have undergone full Islamicisation of their financial systems. It evaluates the case of Malaysia, a country that has promoted Islamic finance alongside conventional banking, and examines those countries and territories such as Bahrain, UK, Singapore and Hong Kong which have announced their intention of becoming hubs of Islamic finance.
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