Sharia-friendly UK Treasury

From the June 2007 Trumpet Print Edition

Britain is to issue its first ever Islamic (Sharia)-compliant government bonds.

London estimates that Islamic financial assets worldwide exceed $250 billion and are quickly mounting. Tapping into that is tempting for a country that will need to borrow almost $120 billion this year to cover its deficits and due bonds.

However, borrowing from those practicing Sharia law comes with strings attached. Receiving interest payments or investing in items like pork, gambling and pornography are strictly prohibited. But the limitations go far beyond that. Sharia law “stipulates that money must not be used for a purpose incompatible with Islam” (Financial Times, April 26).

This could have a wide range of effects on government spending. This money “could not be used in the furtherance of many individual freedoms, or in the promotion of any idealistic or political worldview other than Islam,” including secular democracy, says Andrea Williams, from the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship (ibid.).

As Williams asks, “Is the government prepared to be bound to the decisions of Islamic scholars on the practicalities of these bonds?”

Consider the wisdom in Proverbs 22:7: “[T]he borrower is servant to the lender.”