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Germany_Opens_First_Islamic_Bank

Germany opens first Islamic bank

Germany_Opens_First_Islamic_Bank

OnIslam & News Agencies

CAIRO – Germany has officially opened its first Islamic bank in accordance with Shari`ah laws in Frankfurt, offering the country’s Muslim population better chances of halal investments.

“We are proud to have this license. Hamad Al-Marzouq, board chairman of Kuwait Finance House (KFH), parent of Kuveyt Türk, told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) on Tuesday, July 21.

“Exercising banking in line with the Islamic Shari`ah is very important not only for the German side, which seeks to boost Germany’s financial position, but for millions of clients wishing to use banking services offered by the bank in three Germany cities,” he added.

Marzouq was speaking during the formal opening ceremony held on 21 July 2015 in Frankfurt at KT Bank’s head office.

Ugurlu Soylu, general manager at KT Bank, said the new bank is expected to boost the real economy.

“Bottom line, for our customers there is no difference to paying for something with interest charges,” Soylu told the German news agency dpa.

He added that the Islamic banking has an advantage of the pool system allowing fewer risks which are more evenly distributed, and thus a total collapse of the system is less likely.

Using Frankfurt as its base, the new bank aims to tap Europe’s second-largest Muslim community, many of whose members are of Turkish descent.

Kuveyt Turk, the largest Islamic bank in Turkey and 62 percent owned by Kuwait Finance House, set up a financial services branch in Mannheim in 2010 and applied for a full banking license in 2012.

At the time, the lender said it would invest initial capital of 45 million euros ($48.7 million) in the planned German unit.

Islam forbids Muslims from usury, receiving or paying interest on loans.

Islamic banks and finance institutions cannot receive or provide funds for anything involving alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco, weapons or pork.

Shari`ah-compliant financing deals resemble lease-to-own arrangements, layaway plans, joint purchase and sale agreements, or partnerships.

Investors have a right to know how their funds are being used, and the sector is overseen by dedicated supervisory boards as well as the usual national regulatory authorities.

Over the past years, Islamic finance has been slow to gain a foothold in Europe.
Britain remains Europe’s main Islamic finance hub, with five full-fledged Islamic banks, with a Luxembourg venture also planning to launch an Islamic lender of its own.

In 2004, the German state of Saxony-Anhalt raised 100 million euros via Islamic bonds, with Munich-based FWU Group tapping the market in 2012 and 2013.

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Lockerbie: Megrahi ‘a Convenient Scapegoat?’

By BBC News

2009-08-22T113659Z_01_SIN805_RTRMDNP_3_LOCKERBIE

Convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi (L) talks with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli in this August 21, 2009 video grab from Libya TV. Gaddafi hugged the convicted Lockerbie bomber and promised more cooperation with Britain in gratitude for his release, while London and Washington condemned his "hero’s welcome" home. Meeting Megrahi and his family late on Friday, Gaddafi thanked British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Queen Elizabeth for "encouraging" Scotland to release the dying prisoner from a Scottish jail, Libyan news agency JANA reported.

REUTERS/Libya TV

Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi has left Scotland to return to Libya.

With his departure, a lengthy chapter in Scots legal history has closed.

But many questions remain – and they will not disappear along with the flight to Tripoli.

BBC Scotland’s Home Affairs Correspondent Reevel Alderson has been looking at the mystery which still surrounds the 1988 bombing.

The collection of evidence from Britain’s worst act of terrorism began immediately – and within a week detectives announced it had been caused by a bomb in a radio cassette player.

Throughout the subsequent weeks whole sections of the jumbo jet were recovered to help investigators literally piece together the cause.

Although they knew it was a bomb they needed to find out who had placed it, why they had done so, and how?

Early suspicion fell on Ahmed Jibril, leader of Palestinian terror group the PFLP-GC, who intelligence sources suggested may have been working for Iran.

West German police mounted Operation Autumn Leaves, raiding flats near Frankfurt where the group was preparing bombs in radio cassette players.

They were similar to that used to blow up Pan Am flight 103.

But Dick Marquise, chief of the FBI “Scotbom Task Force” from 1988-1992, said investigators could find nothing later to link this plot with Lockerbie.

“We never found any evidence,” he told the BBC. “There’s a lot of information, there’s a lot of intelligence that people have said there were meetings, there were discussions.

“But not one shred of evidence that a prosecutor could take into court to convict either an official in Iran or Ahmed Jibril for blowing up Pan Am flight 103.”

There were also suggestions that Jibril’s group put the bomb onto a Pan Am feeder flight from Frankfurt Airport to Heathrow, switching the suitcase for one containing drugs being run by another Palestinian group.

But another airport has also come under suspicion – Heathrow in London, from where the doomed jumbo jet took off.

Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was one of the victims of the atrocity, said a break-in the night before near the Pan Am secure baggage area was not fully investigated by police, who he claims concealed the evidence.

“I wrote recently to the Crown Office (which handles Scottish prosecutions) asking why that had been concealed for 12 years, and if they knew about it all along,” he said.

He said they would not answer his question, which he said meant there must now be a thorough inquiry into the incident.

During Megrahi’s first appeal, held at Kamp van Zeist in the Netherlands, his counsel raised the matter, saying it cast doubt on claims that the fatal bomb must have been loaded in Malta.

But the five appeal judges rejected the suggestion.

Malta had become crucial once police found a fragment of the bomb timer wrapped in a piece of clothing in a Dumfriesshire forest.

The clothes had Maltese labels – but question marks remain about how this discovery was made several months after the disaster, and also over how the material was handled.

The original trial heard labels on police evidence bags containing the fragment had been changed: the evidence of the officer who had done this was heavily criticised by the trial judges.

Worldwide terrorism

There were question marks too over Tony Gauci, a Maltese shopkeeper who was the only man to identify Megrahi.

His evidence was that the Libyan, who he picked out at an identity parade, had bought the clothes at his shop.

But his police statements are inconsistent, and prosecutors failed to tell the defence that shortly before he attended an identity parade, Mr Gauci had seen a magazine article showing a picture of Megrahi, and speculating he might have been involved.

Mr Gauci now lives in Australia, and according to defence claims is believed to have been paid several million dollars by the Americans for his evidence.

It may be that we will never know exactly what happened in December 1988.

Secret documents before the Appeal Court – which even the defence has not seen – might have provided new information.

They will now remain undisclosed, after the foreign secretary issued a Public Information Immunity certificate stating that to publish them would be to the detriment of UK national security.

Megrahi was charged as a member of the Libyan Intelligence Services – acting with others.

Megrahi is now dying, but he may have been a convenient scapegoat for a much bigger conspiracy.

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