From the Globe and Mail.
FINANCIAL SERVICES: APPLICATIONS PUT REGULATOR IN UNCHARTED TERRITORY
Sharia-bank bids trigger concerns
STEVEN CHASE AND TAVIA GRANT
September 24, 2007
OTTAWA and TORONTO -- Ottawa has received its first applications to start up Canadian banks operating within the strictures of Islamic religious law - financial institutions that, if approved, would be among the first in the West.
Canada's bank regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, is studying two proposals for banks that offer services in keeping with Islamic laws that forbid speculation and interest but are in favour of transactions where profit and loss is shared.
The applications came to light in government documents obtained by The Globe and Mail under access to information laws, files that show Ottawa believes there are four other possible applicants keen to start banks operating under Islamic religious law, or sharia.
While some banks in the West offer sharia-compliant products, few aside from the Islamic Bank of Britain are standalone institutions set up expressly for this purpose.
Today, however, demand for sharia-compliant products in Canada remains unclear and several Islamic finance companies have folded.
Recall some Muslims in Ontario wanted legal recognition of Sharia Law to operate as a parallel system of jurisprudence to the existing provincial laws. This would have made Ontario the only jurisdiction in the entire west to legally recognize Sharia law. Thankfully, it went nowhere due to opposition from Muslims and non-Muslims. Muslims are also front and center in pushing for public funding for Islamic schools that will operate separate but equal from the public system. Now Muslims have applied for a banking system that will function separate but equal from the existing Canadian banking system.
The question I have to ask is do Muslims sincerely care to integrate into Canadian society? Since actions speak louder than words than the answer is apparently no. It appears to me that they want to be separate but equal. If that's the case then why do we encourage Muslim immigration when they socially isolate themselves from the rest of society and desire to live a parallel existence without fully integrating? If being Muslim is so important to them then why do they immigrate to predominately Christian and secularist societies?
It seems to me that Muslims are desirous to construct an Islamic society within a Canadian legal, cultural, social, and economic framework. It's divisive, it brings social tensions, and it is loud and clear that Muslims are not that interested in preserving anything that is culturally Canadian but care more so to co-opt if not erase it outright. If that is the case then we as a people should rethink Muslim immigration to our country.