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Will Islamic finance flourish in Russia?
by Sarah Neary
Conventional finance may need to make room for the Islamic variety, at least in Russia. In 2009 and 2010, one survey found that 97 percent of people who were mainly Muslim or from an Islamic background were interested in using an Islamic bank. Of that 97 percent, 40 reside in Moscow. How far has Islamic finance come in a country that's one of the most influential game-players in the financial world?
The Voice of Russia invited two experts in the field, Farmida Bi, lawyer and partner at Norton Rose LLP and Adnan Halawi, Head of Islamic Finance at Zawya, to share their views on the market's current trends and future potential.
Though not formally allowed to be practiced in America or Russia, it's still growing at an annual rate of around 15 to 20 percent. So, what makes this faith-based financial concept so appealing? One possible factor that may appeal to the public about Islamic finance is that it prohibits riba, the charging of interest on a loan. Despite the ban on interest charges though, Islamic banks and financial firms still manage to make money.
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