If the Norks don’t get them, this will. “South Korea to Learn From Malaysia on Islamic Finance,” by Manirajan Ramasamy and Frances Yoon for Bloomberg, December 10:
Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) — South Korea wants to learn about Islamic finance from Malaysia, President Lee Myung Bak said today following a local newspaper report that parliament had rejected a bill that would pave the way for a sale of sukuk….
The bill, which was first proposed to parliament by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance in September 2009 to help diversify funding sources, was scuttled earlier this year amid opposition from church leaders. A sale of sukuk would be South Korea’s first.
Lee Man Sub, head pastor at the Korean Association of Church Communication, was among leaders seeking to stop the plan on concern Islamic charities would funnel contributions to terrorist activities from zakat, a tax paid by Muslims with wealth to be distributed to the poor and needy.
Shariah-compliant bond sales in South Korea could potentially reach $1 billion a year, Lee Yul Hee, head of the Islamic finance team at the Seoul-based Korea Investment & Securities Co., said in August. Malaysia is the world’s biggest market for sukuk and a global hub for financing that complies with religious tenets.