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'Gatekeepers' of Islamic financial circuits : analysing urban geographies of the global Shari'a elite

David Bassens (UGent) , Ben Derudder (UGent) and Frank Witlox (UGent)
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Abstract
This paper analyses the importance of 'Shari'a scholars' in the Islamic Financial Services (IFS) sector, which has been a growing global practice since the 1970s. Based on Shari'a Law, IFS firms provide banking, finance and insurance respecting faith-based prohibitions on interest, speculation and risk taking. Although IFS firms operate across a variety of scales and involve a range of actors, this paper focuses on the transnational capacities of Shari'a experts employed by IFS firms. These scholars use their extensive knowledge of Shari'a Law to assess the 'Islamic' character of a firm's operations, and assist the development of Shari'a-compliant products. As they embody necessary entry-points into Islamic circuits of knowledge and authority, members of what we dub the 'global Shari'a elite' can be regarded as 'gatekeepers' of Islamic financial circuits. Drawing on a comprehensive data source we present a geographical analysis of Shari'a board membership, nationality and educational background of 253 Shari'a scholars. The results show that the global Shari'a elite connects a limited number of IFS hubs (e. g. Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait City, Manama, and London) to knowledge and authority networks falling outside 'mainstream' business and service spheres.
Keywords
Gulf region, advanced producer services, international financial centers, transnationalism, Islamic finance, CITIES, MIGRATION, CAPITALISM, BANKING, SERVICES

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MLA
Bassens, David, Ben Derudder, and Frank Witlox. “‘Gatekeepers’ of Islamic Financial Circuits : Analysing Urban Geographies of the Global Shari’a Elite.” ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT 24.5-6 (2012): 337–355. Print.
APA
Bassens, D., Derudder, B., & Witlox, F. (2012). “Gatekeepers” of Islamic financial circuits : analysing urban geographies of the global Shari’a elite. ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT, 24(5-6), 337–355.
Chicago author-date
Bassens, David, Ben Derudder, and Frank Witlox. 2012. “‘Gatekeepers’ of Islamic Financial Circuits : Analysing Urban Geographies of the Global Shari’a Elite.” Entrepreneurship and Regional Development 24 (5-6): 337–355.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Bassens, David, Ben Derudder, and Frank Witlox. 2012. “‘Gatekeepers’ of Islamic Financial Circuits : Analysing Urban Geographies of the Global Shari’a Elite.” Entrepreneurship and Regional Development 24 (5-6): 337–355.
Vancouver
1.
Bassens D, Derudder B, Witlox F. “Gatekeepers” of Islamic financial circuits : analysing urban geographies of the global Shari’a elite. ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT. 2012;24(5-6):337–55.
IEEE
[1]
D. Bassens, B. Derudder, and F. Witlox, “‘Gatekeepers’ of Islamic financial circuits : analysing urban geographies of the global Shari’a elite,” ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT, vol. 24, no. 5–6, pp. 337–355, 2012.
@article{2913089,
  abstract     = {This paper analyses the importance of 'Shari'a scholars' in the Islamic Financial Services (IFS) sector, which has been a growing global practice since the 1970s. Based on Shari'a Law, IFS firms provide banking, finance and insurance respecting faith-based prohibitions on interest, speculation and risk taking. Although IFS firms operate across a variety of scales and involve a range of actors, this paper focuses on the transnational capacities of Shari'a experts employed by IFS firms. These scholars use their extensive knowledge of Shari'a Law to assess the 'Islamic' character of a firm's operations, and assist the development of Shari'a-compliant products. As they embody necessary entry-points into Islamic circuits of knowledge and authority, members of what we dub the 'global Shari'a elite' can be regarded as 'gatekeepers' of Islamic financial circuits. Drawing on a comprehensive data source we present a geographical analysis of Shari'a board membership, nationality and educational background of 253 Shari'a scholars. The results show that the global Shari'a elite connects a limited number of IFS hubs (e. g. Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait City, Manama, and London) to knowledge and authority networks falling outside 'mainstream' business and service spheres.},
  author       = {Bassens, David and Derudder, Ben and Witlox, Frank},
  issn         = {0898-5626},
  journal      = {ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT},
  keywords     = {Gulf region,advanced producer services,international financial centers,transnationalism,Islamic finance,CITIES,MIGRATION,CAPITALISM,BANKING,SERVICES},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5-6},
  pages        = {337--355},
  title        = {'Gatekeepers' of Islamic financial circuits : analysing urban geographies of the global Shari'a elite},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08985626.2011.577820},
  volume       = {24},
  year         = {2012},
}

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