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The UK has accelerated plans to issue an inaugural Islamic bond – known as sukuk – concerned that Hong Kong, South Africa or Luxembourg could pip it to the post to become the first non-Muslim country to do so.

UK chancellor George Osborne last autumn announced plans for Britain to be the first European country to issue sukuk, as part of London's strategy to become the "western centre for Islamic finance".

But since then, Luxembourg and South Africa have hastened their plans to issue Islamic bonds, as they compete to attract investment from the Muslim world.

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