This paper explores views regarding the accessibility of Islamic banking in the UK amongst those employed in the sector, the faith’s scholarly leaders and the nation’s wider Muslim population. The UK Government has been effusive in its desire to widen access to the industry’s services and transform London into the world’s centre for Islamic Finance (Housby, 2011). The terms in which such initiatives are couched – consistent with traditional Islamic thinking and Ijtihad (independent reasoning) – focus on social justice allied to the notion of minority emancipation via enhanced corporate communication; the empirical evidence in the present study is therefore contextualised via prior theorising relating to these issues. Whilst such an ethical underpinning might be suggestive of an approach that garners pervasive support across all the relevant parties, direct comparison of the opinions held by everyday Muslims, those at the heart of the industry and Islamic leaders has not been central to prior analyses in the area. In addition, most of the earlier empirical studies emphasise the influence of practical issues such as car parking and opening hours etc. We extend the focus here to include consideration of a broader range of factors relating to Islamic banking’s accessibility in Britain including knowledge diffusion, product features and choice determinants.
- Islamic Banking
- Islamic Scholars