Excerpt:

What could be more middle England than Waitrose? So it was intriguing to learn that the delivery company most closely associated with it - Ocado - has accepted a £10 million investment from the Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME), which advertises itself as "sharia'a compliant".

At first glance this is perplexing. Will the wide-aisled bastion of high quality deli and fine wines for the upper middle classes have to forgo the delivery of alcohol and pork products in order to receive its cash? "No," Ben Lovett, a spokesman for Ocado, tells me. "No change there."

So how does the Islamic financing house justify this arrangement? Surely the whole point of Islamic financing is that it has no truck with that which is haraam, or forbidden - and pork and alcohol fall squarely into this category? Otherwise what's the point of pretending it's any different from any other kind of bank?


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