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The modern revival of Islamic finance dates from the 1960s and is closely linked to the emergence of newly independent countries that found the means and incentives to respond to the unmet need of their majority Muslim citizens for a form of finance that was in accordance with the ethical and moral principles founded in their faith. Many non-Muslims have also been drawn to Islamic finance, attracted by the value it places on high ethical standards and its resilience and stability shown during the global financial crisis started in 2007-2008.
The important ethical principles of Islamic finance, moral concepts and practices have the potential to refashion the world of finance and mobilse funds from the unbanked. Many of these concepts and practices have their origins in classical times that helped with trade and commerce. Some aspects are very new, for example Sukuk while derived from Islamic securities that are very old have been adapted into a modern form in different ways as an alternative to interest-bearing conventional bonds.
There appears to also be a growing acceptance by Western governments and bankers of Islamic financial products as viable alternatives. Islamic banking, a form of participation banking, has been outgrowing conventional banking in many of the world’s predominantly Muslim majority countries.
The Vatican official newspaper Osservatore Romano on 3rd March 2009 wrote “The ethical principles on which Islamic finance is based may bring banks closer to their clients and to the true spirit which should mark every financial service. Western banks could use tools such as the Islamic bonds, known as sukuk, as collateral ...”. The Osservatore’s editor, said that “the great religions have always had a common attention to the human dimension of the economy.”