Sharia loans already in Birmingham
By Tom Scotney, Enterprise Editor
The Archbishop of Canterbury provoked a furore when he suggested Sharia - religious law based on Islamic principles - would inevitably become a part of life in Britain.
But there's at least one place Sharia has already proved an unqualified success - Birmingham's small business community.
Mohammed Nazir set up the Halal Fund - thought to be Britain's only business Sharia loan fund - about four years ago to provide funding for small businesses in the city.
It offers loans which are acceptable under Islamic law - which forbids charging interest.
Instead the loans are based on the fund taking control of a percentage of the firm as collateral, which can be bought back at any time.
And Mr Nazir said there had been such a huge demand for the fund the only problem had been securing enough money to put into it.
He said even though a lot of the businesses that had approached him were not suitable, he had still had to turn down many because there was just not the capability in the Halal Fund's coffers.
"We have loads of enquiries coming in all the time, but we have to focus on the businesses we are working with at the moment," he said. "If we were to get extra funding there is a huge demand for what we do, everyone knows the demand is there."
At the moment the Fund is supported by Mr Nazir's own business and is linked to the Islamic Bank of Britain, based in Edgbaston.
1) Sharia loans already in Birmingham