LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron is taking strides to tap the burgeoning interest in Islamic finance, announcing the launch of a new Islamic Market Index in London and plans for Britain to be the first non-Muslim country to issue an Islamic bond.
Describing London as "already the biggest center for Islamic finance outside the Islamic world," Cameron said Tuesday that the U.K.'s ambition is to go further.
"I don't just want London to be a great capital of Islamic finance in the Western world," he told an audience of international political and business leaders in London. "I want London to stand alongside Dubai as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world."
The market in Islamic investments has grown quickly since 2006, and its value is expected to hit $2 trillion next year. Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, is regarded as its hub, but London has been courting the industry aggressively.
Cameron made a case for mutual benefits in his address Tuesday at the World Islamic Economic Forum, which for the first time is being held in a non-Muslim country.