In June 2014 George Osborne announced that Britain was launching the first Islamic bond scheme in the non-Muslim world. Three Government buildings in Whitehall were transferred to Islamic bonds, switching the ownership from British taxpayers to wealthy Middle Eastern businessmen and banks. The issue of bonds raised £200million and was the first carried out by a Western country and Osborne said it would turn the UK into 'the western hub of Islamic finance' and the 'undisputed centre of the global financial system.'How does a Western government agree to a scheme in which only Muslims can buy bonds? Is there a similar scheme for Anglicans?
But critics say the scheme would waste money and could undermine Britain's financial and legal systems by imposing Sharia law onto government premises. The bonds – known as Sukuk – are only available for purchase by Islamic investors. The money raised will be repayable from 2019.
But instead of interest, bond-buyers will earn rental income from the three Government offices as interest payments are banned in Sharia law. The Treasury agreed to make the sukuk fully compliant with Sharia law to ensure investors were not put off investing in the scheme, meaning each of the buildings used to finance the products must meet the terms of Sharia law, including the ban on alcohol.
Parliament is a thirsty bunch, by the way -- check the sidebar on how much liquid their house bar moves every year.