Perceptions on the accessibility of Islamic banking in the UK—Challenges, opportunities and divergence in opinion
Bruce Burton () and
Accounting Forum, 2017, vol. 41, issue 4, 353-374
This study examines the views of UK-based Muslims, Islamic Scholars and Islamic banking employees on the current state of the latter industry, both in practical terms and as regards engagement with the nation’s large, but often marginalised Islamic community. The British Government has recently championed the Islamic banking sector and committed to supporting it as a means of addressing financial services needs and consolidating London’s position as the global centre for Islamic investment. The analysis adds to the substantive literature in two principal ways: (i) by contextualising the evidence via the notions of empowerment, engagement and social justice that underpin both the state’s attempts to foster growth and the central tenets of Islam; and (ii) by placing comparison of the opinions of key groups at the heart of the investigation. The findings reveal that while progress has been made, UK-based Muslims see several substantive impediments to access, including the complex terminology of Islamic banking products, the lack of internet banking facilities and branch networks as well as a generalised lack of interest in marketing on the part of the institutions. Whilst some coincidence of perception is evident, the views of bankers are shown to be out of line with those of the other parties in a number of key areas. For example, bankers appear to see less potential in the role of the internet as a medium for spreading awareness than do either potential customers or religious scholars. The paper therefore concludes with a call for multi-party Ijtihad and Qiyas (deductive analogy) that will encourage industrial outreach and, in so doing, support long-term growth.
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