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Russia has the potential to be the largest Islamic finance market in Europe

16.03.2010

Mohammed Amin is an Islamic finance consultant who is a UK chartered accountant and chartered tax adviser. He chairs the Business and Economics Committee of the Muslim Council of Britain and is a member of the UK Government's HM Treasury Islamic Finance Experts Group. Until recently he was a partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and led their Islamic finance practice in the UK.
Russia has the potential to be the largest Islamic finance market in Europe
Mohammed Amin is an Islamic finance consultant who is a UK chartered accountant and chartered tax adviser. He chairs the Business and Economics Committee of the Muslim Council of Britain and is a member of the UK Government's HM Treasury Islamic Finance Experts Group. Until recently he was a partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and led their Islamic finance practice in the UK.

- Mr. Amin, what do you know about Islam in Russia?

I visited Moscow and Kazan in June 2009. As a result I am extremely conscious of the fact that Russia has the largest Muslim minority in Europe, totalling in the region of 20 million people. I was also struck by the number of young people embracing Islam.

- Do you consider Russia prospectful market for Islamic finance?

In my opinion Russia has the potential to be the largest Islamic finance market in Europe due to the size of its Muslim population and its geographical proximity to many Muslim majority countries in Central Asia and the Middle East.

- In your opinion, what are the obstacles for development of Islamic finance in Russia?

I consider that the main requirement for the development of Islamic finance in Russia is an improved understanding of Islamic finance by the authorities responsible for policy on taxation and financial regulation. In this regard, the Russian authorities could learn much from the way in which the United Kingdom has been able to facilitate the development of Islamic finance while ensuring that tax law and regulatory policy are not influenced by religious matters. In the United Kingdom the same law applies to all banks regardless of whether they are conventional banks or Islamic banks.

- What do you think of establishment business relations with Russian companies?

While at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, I had some contact with Russian companies which had a presence in London. I am not currently involved but consider that relations with Russian companies may be attractive to some British companies. The greatest concern would be the enforceability of contracts in Russian courts given the difficulties encountered by some major multinational companies.

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