“Sharia-bank bids trigger concerns,” by Steven Chase and Tavia Grant for The Globe and Mail:
OTTAWA and TORONTO — Ottawa has received its first applications to start up Canadian banks operating within the strictures of Islamic religious law – financial institutions that, if approved, would be among the first in the West.
Canada’s bank regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, is studying two proposals for banks that offer services in keeping with Islamic laws that forbid speculation and interest but are in favour of transactions where profit and loss is shared.
The applications came to light in government documents obtained by The Globe and Mail under access to information laws, files that show Ottawa believes there are four other possible applicants keen to start banks operating under Islamic religious law, or sharia.
While some banks in the West offer sharia-compliant products, few aside from the Islamic Bank of Britain are standalone institutions set up expressly for this purpose.
See also this article, which appeared on Dhimmi Watch in May, for a stinging critique of Sharia banking in the West by Tarek Fatah.
Today, however, demand for sharia-compliant products in Canada remains unclear and several Islamic finance companies have folded.
Whether or not various ventures succeed, Sharia advocates are still laying the groundwork for collaboration with, enforcement, and support of Sharia law by Western governments, setting a disturbing precedent.