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Finance Minister Bos encourages Islamic banking by Muslims

Chamber questions haunt PVV

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE - Finance Minister Wouter Bos recently gave members of a Second Chamber faction the opposite of what they wanted to hear: he will encourage Sharia banking in the Netherlands. The Party for Freedom (PVV) members Geert Wilders and Teun van Dijck had, in fact, asked for a ban on such Islamic banking.

Bos reported that his officials are investigating how Islamic banking in the Netherlands can be developed. As Finance minister, he sees an opportunity for the Dutch financial sector to play a role in meeting the demand. From a security point of view, Bos argues that banning Islamic banking would have a counter-productive effect on fighting terrorism. Denying the existence of an actual need could lead to money flowing through alternative channels, hidden from government oversight, Bos wrote in his answers to the Second Chamber.

The minister stated that Islamic banks that want to offer their services in the Netherlands or Western banks that offer services meeting Sharia principles must do so in the confines of the laws and regulations that apply to all financial services companies.

Dubai and Londen are currently developing themselves into international centres for Islamic banking, according to Bos, who feels that the Netherlands is equipped to play a role in this market.

One major financial institution, the Rabobank, already offers Muslims mortgages that meet Islamic standards.