UK efforts to secure a slice of the lucrative Islamic finance sector will step up a notch when the British capital hosts the World Islamic Economic Forum this month, marking the first time the gathering — dubbed by some the Islamic world's Davos — is held outside the Muslim world.

Analysts expect the market in Sharia-compliant assets, now estimated at between US$1.7 trillion (Dh6.2 trillion) annually, to continue growing, making it an attractive proposition for Britain's large financial services sector.

Successive British governments have sought to establish London as a hub for Islamic financial services, even though the financial crisis in 2008 and uncertainty accompanying Arab Spring upheavals dampened some of the enthusiasm for the market.

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