Cypriots Divided by 1974 War Seek Shariah Hub: Islamic Finance

The Cyprus Investment Funds Association is calling for the government to sell sukuk to lure investment from the Middle East. In addition, the Cyprus Stock Exchange wants to encourage the listing of Shariah-compliant bonds and sees potential for the nation of 1.2 million to become a “gateway to the European Union” for Islamic investors, Chief Executive Officer Nondas Metaxas said. The island, where Muslims make up 18 percent of the population and Turkey has kept troops since the 1974 conflict, is being asked by the European Union to tackle a bad-loan ratio of 45 percent after a joint bailout with the International Monetary Fund in March 2013. However, the government isn’t currently looking into developing an Islamic finance industry, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades.