With oil prices hovering around $100 a barrel, more than $1 trillion in petrodollars are now available annually for global investment. And major U.S. financial institutions, hit hard by the credit crunch, are hungrily eyeing them.
Citibank and Goldman Sachs, for example, are creating investment vehicles that cater to Muslim investors in order to grab some of the billions in management fees in the offing. These products include Shariah-compliant bonds, mutual funds, mortgages, insurance, hedge funds and soon REITs.
Dow Jones Corp. has even created its own index for Islamic-correct investments: the Dow Jones Islamic Index.
While the $800 billion global Shariah market is relatively small, it's growing at a 15% clip, thanks to the oil boom and a resurgence in Islamic fundamentalism, according to the Center for Security Policy. And it's expected to more than double over the next 10 years.
What's the fuss? Money is money, right? Not in this case.