Islamic finance faces political hurdles in US

From Australia to Britain and even France, which recently banned the face-veil, Western economies are adjusting their laws to encourage growth in the Islamic finance sector they hope will attract wealthy Gulf investors.
Enthusiasm in the US has been tempered by politics, however, which could slow the growth of Islamic finance and push business from the oil exporting Gulf elsewhere. Islamic finance has faced scrutiny in the US, with critics suggesting the $1tn industry was a front to funnel funds to terrorists or a plot by Muslims to spread Shariah principles, which include a ban on interest.
The US Federal Reserve has launched an Islamic finance study group and is seeking consultants within the Islamic finance industry.
The US Treasury has launched the Islamic Finance 101 programme to teach government agencies about Shariah-compliant business.
The programme is run with Harvard’s Islamic Finance Project, which was created in 1995 to study Islamic finance from a legal perspective and foster collaboration among scholars inside and outside the Muslim world.
But these initiatives have also been politicised.