“The interesting thing about Islam,” says Professor Constant Mews, “is that it was a much more commercial culture from the outset than Christianity.”
And from around the middle of the eighth century to the middle of the 13th, while European Christians were struggling through the Dark Ages, the Islamic world enjoyed a golden age.
Arab merchants had a lot to do with it.
“They developed alternative ways of regulating funds,” says Mews.
“In particular the core Islamic principle is simply one of sharing profit and loss. The desire is to promote investment by taking commercial risk.
“Risk, incidentally, is an Arabic word, referring to where you lend money to others without requiring a return unless there is profitable growth.”
And for some 500 years, this financial model underpinned advances in science, the arts, architecture, and innovation generally. Then came the Crusades and the Mongol hordes, and the Islamic model of finance declined, the space becoming filled by that other model.
Islamic finance, however, is undergoing something of a renaissance.
It is now a USD1 trillion industry…Mohamed Ariff continues the litany of statistical growth: there are 57 majority-Muslim nations, 76 countries which already practice Islamic banking, 350 banks, 15 insurance companies and about 1,200 mutual funds.
Keep reading – Jesus saves, Moses lends, Muhammad invests
Continue reading Jesus saves, Moses lends, Muhammad invests – Islamic finance accounts for 1 trillion in banking
There are growing signs of progress in the Middle East, if you measure by the total number of Facebook users. That number has skyrocketed since 2010, going from 15 million to near 40 million.
Of those users, a growing number are starting to prefer using the site in their own native language, Arabic.
Of the 39+ million Arabic users on Facebook, 39% prefer to view the site in their native language, while 36% like it in English.
As more users in the region are coming online, with an obvious desire to access sites in Arabic, there is a rising demand for content that appeals to them, and quite a few social media sites are trying to meet that demand.
Twitter recently added support for right-to-left languages, including in Arabic, while Storify is working with a team of volunteers in the Middle East to translate their interface into Arabic.
Arabic is one of the fastest growing languages on sites like Twitter and Wikipedia, and with Yahoo having just licensed the technology behind smart transliteration tool Yamli, it is becoming increasingly easy for Arabic speakers to interact in their mother tongue online.
via The Next Web
The numbers are not overwhelming, by any means, considering that there are 152 million users in the U.S. and 232 million in Europe, but it is a positive sign.
// Photo – Sean MacEntee