UK Shariah law
There are already Islamic current accounts, mortgages and investment funds in the UK, and now a new motor insurance product that conforms to Islamic law (Shariah) is being marketed.
The new policy will be welcomed by many British Muslims looking to buy insurance cover. It could also prove popular for non-Muslims who find the notion of an ethical or cooperative insurance product appealing.
Unlike conventional insurance, where risk is transferred from the policyholder to the insurance company, halal (permissible) insurance, or takaful (guaranteeing each other), requires all participants to share risk equally. Instead of premiums, participants pay contributions, which, as with ordinary insurance, are calculated on the presumed risk of the individual and how likely they are to claim.
These contributions are then pooled in a takaful fund, which is invested in strictly halal activities. There is also a Shariah supervisory committee, made up of Shariah scholars, to oversee all activities and to ensure that the whole process is consistent with Islamic principles.
However, concern is growing that these financial devices are allowing ever greater inclusion of Shariah principles and practices into British law.
The British Government may be about to provide further concessions to Islamic religious law by changing financial regulations to accommodate Shariah finance. Proposals under review, if adopted, will see sukuk, or Islamic bonds, accepted as part of the UK’s legal financial system.
Christian Concern for our Nation and the Christian Legal Centre, in a written submission to the Treasury and the Financial Services Authority, have warned of the likely changes to British society from these developments.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and director of the two organisations, said: ‘The accommodation of Shariah compliant finance by the British government represents a capitulation to Islamic religious law. The Shariah scholars who mastermind this kind of finance desire to see the Islamisation of the UK and its submission to Shariah law.
‘The authority given to Shariah scholars by financial institutions and the plans announced by the authorities to appoint such clerics to advise them shows just how far adrift we have sailed as a nation from tolerance, via multiculturalism, to accommodation and soon to subjugation’.
The Government has previously publicised its support for Islamic or ‘Shariah-compliant’ finance and has stated its intention to enable the continued growth of the sector so that London remains Europe’s gateway to international Islamic finance.
The Treasury and other UK financial authorities believe that issuing such bonds and thus accommodating Shariah finance will be of benefit to society as a whole, will increase liquidity for the Treasury and will enable Muslims to be financially enfranchised.