France has the largest Muslim population in all of Europe, so it’s no wonder why the country has plans to become a hub for Islamic finance.
One problem though: Laïcité – France’s strict policy on the separation of church and state.
According to one website, the French hold this division to an even higher standard than that of the United States and most other European countries.
“Given this outlook, some French fear the Muslim community here is seeking to nurture its own identity in a way that sets them apart from ordinary French citizens and undermines the unity of the nation. The way in which Muslims openly speak about religion, rather than keeping their faith to themselves, looks to these French as a challenge to the principle of laïcité,” writes one Reuters blogger.
But other commentators on the Reuters blog say there Islamic finance has nothing to do with propagating Islam itself. Some disagree, however.
One blogger harshly states, “This sucking up to Islamic money makes one want to puke. It was bad enough giving it to them in the first place; now let’s have some dignity and tell them to use the sandbank.”
Is this fair? Is this really more of a branding issue (i.e. including the word “Islam” in a bank title)? Or is this an intentional move for Muslims to make a bigger mark on French culture than the followers of other religions?