All over Europe Islamic banks are establishing branches, Western banks are offering Sharia-compliant financial services, and European governments are trying to outcompete each other in welcoming them. Proponents of banking along the lines of Sharia (Islamic law) claim that the Islamic banking system is "more ethical" than the West's capitalist system. This is not true. Unfortunately, however, in our age of crashing financial markets, many Westerners – not just the traditional anti-capitalist European left – seem very eager to buy that argument.
Early this month, even the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano voiced its approval of Sharia banking. "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," the paper said in a downright stupid and "unethical" article published on March, 4.
The article, entitled "Islamic finance proposals and ideas for the West in crisis" suggests that the basic rules of Islamic finance could relieve suffering markets and particularly international financial systems. It says that in the current atmosphere of crisis banks should take Muslims as an example and that the Islamic finance system may pave the way for the establishment of new rules in the Western world.