I think it's important to understand the economics of the Islamic world in general, and how it applies to the Middle East in specific.
KUALA LUMPUR April 6 - Worldwide Islamic finance is estimated to be about US$230 billion currently and growing with an annual rate of about 15 percent annually, Head of Exchanges, Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE), Dr Zaha Rina Zahari said Tuesday.
As of Monday, Syariah compliant companies accounted for 59.34 percent (RM426.9 billion) of the total market capitalisation on the MSEB, she said at a press conference after the opening of the seminar on Islamic Financial and Banking Services by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), here Tuesday. She also said that companies in Malaysia should work together by building new products to tap the huge Islamic funds worldwide. "It is estimated that there are about US$1.3 trillions (RM4.94 trillions) worth of untapped Islamic funds worldwide," she said.
Chief operating officer of the ACCA, Helen Brand said in her opening remarks at the seminar that the ACCA recognised the phenomenal growth of Islamic Banking worldwide.There is now the Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes which provide guidance to investing in accordance with Islamic guidelines, she said. These indexes track Syariah compliant stocks globally and consist of companies that are compatible with Syariah law, she said. "Currently over 1,200 companies are listed on this index," she said. The annual growth rate of Islamic Banking assets is 15-20 percent, with current market share in terms of assets amounting to RM76 billion or 10 percent of the total banking system, she quoted Bank Negara 2003 annual report. From being peripheral players in the banking scene, Islamic banks now are coming to the forefront of a number of financing deals, products and general services. She said that the first ACCA Islamic banking seminar organised here was recognition that Malaysia is in the forefront of Islamic Finance. She said the seminar hoped to deliver current thinking and application of Islamic Banking principles to accounting and financing practice in Malaysia and to ensure that the government and business community were able to fully support the increasing demands for an alternative to conventional banking.
Participants will have an opportunity to better understand the accounting principles of Islamic Banking and financial services and would be able to provide relevant advice to their customers.
[quote][i]Originally posted by Jet Moses[/i]@Apr 8 2004, 08:21 AM
There is now the Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes which provide guidance to investing in accordance with Islamic guidelines, she said. These indexes track Syariah compliant stocks globally and consist of companies that are compatible with Syariah law, she said. "Currently over 1,200 companies are listed on this index," she said. [/b][/quote]
I found this to be very interesting, as I think a big reason for the animosity between Ismael and Isaac is over banking principles.
The west has a high standard of living, is productive, and has an ever increasing GDP, and a federal reserve which adjusts interests rates to keep inflation and recession in check.