Thursday, October 12, 2006

American companies adopt Shari'ah-compliant business practices

"Islamic-Safe Finance Grows in the West", Associated Press on Yahoo!, October 12, 2006

The Associated Press has a story this afternoon about companies becoming more open to Shari'ah-compliance. The conventional company (a coffee company) mentioned in the story is Caribou coffee company, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. According to the AP,
"When Caribou Coffee went public last year,[...] the nation's second-largest coffeehouse chain said [in its prospectus] it would never sell pork or porn. It wouldn't charge or receive interest, either."
This is an unusual move for a coffee company to take. More commonly, financial companies will start an Islamic window, branches financially distinct from the interest-charging divisions, to offer Shari'ah-compliant financial products. The reason for Shari'ah-compliance provided by their CEO on their website is that their majority shareholder from 2000 is Arcapita Bank, B.S.C., a Bahraini-based Islamic bank (Caribou was incorporated in 1992). Even after the IPO, Arcapita still holds 61 percent of the company's outstanding common stock.

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