Ireland is one of many countries which has begun to look at Islamic finance as a way to help rebuild the financial services sector. Already Ireland is a base for 20 per cent of Islamic funds based outside of the Middle East, and the plan is to expand that even further.
“To someone like myself who has no particular expertise in the area, Islamic finance looks like a good fit for Ireland,” Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore told an audience during a speech last month.
However while the government is doing a lot to encourage Islamic finance at an international level, this isn’t filtering down to Ireland’s 49,200 Muslims.
Ireland’s two biggest banks, Bank of Ireland and AIB, both confirmed that they don’t offer Sharia-compliant personal banking to customers. This means customers who wish to bank according to their religious beliefs cannot take out mortgages, loans or have savings accounts.