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First German Muslim bank prepares to open
International institutes have already tapped into the market. Photo: DPA

First German Muslim bank prepares to open

Published: 19 Jan 2010 09:04 GMT+01:00
Updated: 19 Jan 2010 09:04 GMT+01:00

Germany’s first Muslim bank is opening in Mannheim, with plans to set up ten branches across the country offering banking services according to the ethical rules of the Koran.

The Kuveyt Türk Beteiligungsbank, based in Istanbul and Kuwait, is renovating its offices in the south-western city ahead of a planned opening in March, when the plan is to offer day-to-day banking services to the large Muslim community in the region.

Although there is already an Iranian finance institute in northern Germany, it is mostly concerned with export businesses, not with individual customers.

Islamic banking means that a fee is paid for a loan rather than interest, and investments are made only in companies considered to conform to Muslim ethics – this bans buying shares in firms which deal with alcohol, pork or weapons. Highly-speculative investments are also not allowed.

The concept could win over non-Muslims too, as far as Zaid el-Mogaddedi, consultant with the Frankfurt-based Institute for Islamic Banking and Finance, is concerned. He said that although Muslim banks had also been affected by the financial problems of the global financial crisis, they had survived relatively unscathed.

This combined with the ethical element made the idea attractive to new customers. “I believe that this business model could serve as a good example for the new regulation of western banks,” he said.

Michael Gassner, from the Central Council of Muslims, said a Muslim bank could also contribute to better integration in Germany. He said around three quarters of the four million Muslims living here felt closely-tied to the Islamic traditions, with a fifth supportive of the idea of Muslim finance.

“Literally put, he who buys a house feels at home,” he said.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:11 January 19, 2010 by Schnuckel
Does Dubai use the Koran method? Didn't they come close to filing or actually declare bankruptcy? Perhaps these banks won't be in business very long?

and this line is blatantly intolerant toward a western lifestyle "Islamic banking means ... investments are made only in companies considered to conform to Muslim ethics"

I hope The Local doesn't start reporting honor killings of those who choose Sparkasse. Still, it sounds like Germany adapting to Islam's needs instead of the other way around. That doesn't sound like helping integration unless it is meant to help the German people integrate with Islam.

Now, I'm sure about a ban on minarets, and they look nicer in Middle-East anyway.
11:19 January 19, 2010 by darwiniandemon
To put things into perspective, to what extend did German banks do to capture this market? Some "approved" accounts, but that's hardly sufficient. If they had did a better job in filling this market, Islamic banks may not have entered the market.

For example, the Chinese population is pretty large in Toronto. The banks catered to this market - offered Chinese speaking service, investments to Asia, etc. Heck, the ATMs have Chinese and English...and surprisingly no French! Ha! Other than a few credit unions or commercial banks, there are no Chinese banks. They, however, did not cater so much to the growing Indian population. As a result, a few Indian banks (virtual or B&M) emerged. So, the German banks cannot really blame anyone other than themselves for not acting fast enough on this. Then again, I'm speaking strictly from a cultural point of view. Religion...that's dangerous territory, so back to work I go.
11:42 January 19, 2010 by michael4096
I don't get it. Nobody is asking anybody who doesn't want to to use the thing. And, there are thousands of financial instruments following eco-whatever, bio-something and health-assuredly. What is the beef?
12:45 January 19, 2010 by michael4096
A puritan once told me that the problem with being a puritan was that you knew that someone, somewhere was having fun - and it was really annoying.

Many of the comments above read the same - I wouldn't want this therefore nobody should be allowed to have it!
13:02 January 19, 2010 by voidplay
'Why is it not considered a "game of chance" to lower oil production in the hope that it will send prices higher? '

For the same reason why the USA can have fuel guzzling SUVs knowing that they can force Saudi to pump out more to drive down prices

There are Vatican banks that make promises and end up investing in weapons and contraceptives ;-)
13:10 January 19, 2010 by ECSNatale
Very few of you have made any sense. People support various types of businesses all the time because the provider shares a common principle with the customer. The question should not be about "for whom" this bank wants to dedicate its services, but HOW.

So long as it conforms to local laws and standards of fairness and is open to everyone who wishes to use it.. what is the problem? If I choose to pay a fee instead of an interest rate for my loan, that is my choice. If choose to buy fair trade coffee... that is my choice. If I only invest in socially responsible investments, that is my choice. How is this different other than it is based on the principles of a religion. I don't even like religion, but think many of the above responses are just open prejudice.

If this bank refuses to allow a woman to open her own account... then yes, it should not be allowed to function within our society. If it denies a gay person an account. Shut it down. If a Jewish person wishes to bank there and is denied... than it does not conform to the standards of "equality of access" in our society and should be shut. However, until that happens... I see nothing wrong with someone providing a service or product that is in line with his or her belief. If they say... you can only have an account here if you are Muslim (which the article clearly states it does not) that would be different. Actions, not ideas.

If you want to talk about freedom and integration... that means EVERYONE should live it...not just one side.

So let's judge the individual actions, not your assumptions about it.
15:45 January 19, 2010 by Wabit
ECSNatale: Thank you for your posting here which I much enjoyed reading. I felt it was word perfect and a truly well written article. A little sad though that so many other folk here could not grasp the meaning and indeed the value of what you have said!

I like the way that you both think and express yourself.

Wabit :-)
15:56 January 19, 2010 by voidplay
It works like this in the olden days If you had 100 Kgs of gold in the economy and someone borrowed it for business, as the economy increased in value the gold value appreciated equally. So you did not owe more that what you borrowed. But today the govt is printing money all the time and devaluing it all the time, so it is impossible to have real Islamic banking unless of course you had real islamic dollars or bonds which also really does not make much sense in todays manipulative economy.

It is today the classical case of 'unless you have a million' you can't start a business, it was probably meant t discourage people who discouraged 'free' or 'capital' economy.

But it is sometimes difficult to explain this to some muslim friends, who are stuck on the 'principle'. Just like christians find it so difficult to accept evolution, and would fight tooth and nail to find fault with it.
19:11 January 19, 2010 by Jibzy
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA... First i thought this was going to be the islamic BANKING but its more about the ISLAMIC than the BANKING.

DAMN you guys are scared and paranoid. Just becuz they're gonna open banks doesnt mean they're gonna rape your daughters and then suddenly all the babies born will be non-germans.

But anyway, Terrorism has definitely won. Even if they didnt manage to hurt you physically, they have blown away your hearts and minds becuz now you're scared of them. You unfortunate people!!!!
19:25 January 19, 2010 by lordwilliams629
Well it's all yours baby, you fools think they don't want to take over your country and eliminate the real german culture, maybe germany should give every muslim a symbolic key and say hey it's all yours.
22:53 January 19, 2010 by voidplay
Ha ha why is that people jump to conclusions

Would you be disappointed if they DID let women open a bank account?

Would you be disappointed if they followed ETHICAL practices?

Would you be disappointed if they did not fund Al Khaida?

Would you be happier if it did do all of it.... happy banking ... get free bombs/ Ak 47 ... and one week free sucide bomber training ..... ;-)
14:00 January 20, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Given the obscenely deplorable recent history of governmental oversight and regulation of banking institutions, one has to be concerned about where the profits of this bank will be channeled. Which jihadist groups are going to benefit, and who is going to prevent this bank from financing terrorism? No one seems willing to discuss that very real issue.
03:17 January 21, 2010 by CalBill
Jihad Savings And Loan? Great idea! Obviousely, the plan is to pump money into enterprises that conform to Sharia law in order to leverage their influence in Germany. Might wanna keep an eye on these folks and where they're money is invested and what "charities" they contribute to.
05:41 January 21, 2010 by Eastard
There are many contrasting perspectives on Islam that cause me concern,,, One of their leaders can sentance someone the death yet they call their banking ethical because it follows some special Koran rules (same rulebook for death sentance)... While I'm fine with Germany getting this bank... I really would follow the money... Many Islamic belivers are world class black market (drugs, etc) criminals so do be careful with this ethical front they present. If I were to guess it is part of a strategy to do something not legal by German law like they did in Canada... carving out a small niche to dictate... and letting it grow... I have come to inherently distrust the contrasting performance of Islam the saviour religion and the terrorist religion... Notice how they don't seem to notice their own religion's horrible suicide killings yet they notice a cartoon in a newspaper... Why don't they have a juihad to stop terrorism...??? Great new place to deposit criminal money...locally...
11:02 January 21, 2010 by homestead
If the total amount paid for a loan is a function of and greater than the initial principal amount then you are paying interest. It doesn't matter if the deal is better or worse than a traditional bank or what kind of accounting tricks are used, it's still essentially interest.
12:28 January 21, 2010 by snorge
Since making money is in essence being a capitalist in the views of Islam, isn't a Muslim bank an oxymoron?

Us westerners are so stupid, we are slowly letting the Muslims into our house by opening the door and inviting them in.

Once we are all "muslimized", our way of life will be nothing but history. when is the West going to wake up to this threat that sees us as the enemy of their religion?
21:55 January 21, 2010 by petrag
Try to "muslimize" this German woman and her surroundings and see what'll happen! I'm ready to raise all kinds of hell. This is my country and you will adapt to it. Otherwise get out quickly.

I've been living in the US and had to adapt. After all, I'm a guest here for 2 more years.

What's good for me is good for the rest of non-citizens in any given country.
16:02 January 22, 2010 by tlwinslow
As Western govts. blithely permit mass Muslim immigration heedless of the consequences, to remain an Islam history ignoramus is getting more dangerous daily. Take time to study Islam's hairy history from square one free online with the Historyscoper and arm your mind with knowledge to understand current events at http://go.to/islamhistory
00:37 January 23, 2010 by Cincinnatus
The Islamic bank will be very useful as the native German population shrinks, and the Islamic population increases.

It will be very important for Germany to have the correct Islamic institutions in place, as the country transitions from a European culture to a Muslim culture.

Getting the jump on an Islamic bank may help Germany become the first jewel in the Ruropean Caliphate, thus defeating France and the other EU countries.
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