Dubai’s Noor Islamic Bank to launch operations in Maldives

July 9, 2008 (LBO) – Dubai’s Noor Islamic Bank has inked a deal to open up an Islamic banking unit in the Indian Ocean Island of Maldives, officials said. Operating under the name Noor Islamic Maldives Private Limited, the Dubai-based bank will hold 33 percent in the new company, Maldives Monetary Authority Governor, Abdulla Jihad said Tuesday.

The Maldivian government will hold 34 percent while the Islamic Cooperation for Development of the Private Sector will control 33 percent, Jihad said by telephone from the capital island of Male.

Noor’s entry, will give the Sunni Muslim island nation of 369,000 people, their first taste in Islamic banking.

Islamic banking complies with sharia or Muslim religious laws that ban the earning of interest, or involvement in tobacco, alcoholic drinks and gambling.

Unlike in conventional banking where clients usually bear all the brunt in case of a financial loss, Islamic banks share in absorbing risks.

Largely Muslim Malaysia is the current Asian leader in Islamic banking after introducing services in 1983.

Maldives’ economy of under a billion dollars is currently serviced by state-