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Britain Reveals Plans for Islamic Bond, Islamic Market Index

British Prime Minister David Cameron says Britain is on its way to becoming the first non-Muslim country to issue an Islamic bond.

Mr. Cameron told a meeting of international business and political leaders in London Tuesday he wants the British capital city to become a leading hub for Islamic finance.

"For years, people have been talking about creating an Islamic Bond, or Sukuk, outside the Islamic world, but it's never quite happened. Changing that is a question of pragmatism and political will, and here in Britain, we have got both."

He said London will also be the site of a new Islamic Market Index to track the ups and downs of Islamic-compliant investments.

Islamic finance conforms to Islamic law, known as Sharia, which forbids charging interest and requires deals to be based on tangible assets. Speculation and dealing in futures are also banned.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai told the London meeting, known as the World Islamic Economic Forum , that the Muslim world "has the potential to become a major engine of global growth and prosperity."

The market in Islamic investments is already growing fast, with expectations it will reach $2 trillion in value next year.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Jordan's King Abdullah are also among the more than 1,500 delegates attending the forum.

London is the first non-Muslim city to host the event -- now in its ninth year. Prime Minister Cameron said the British capital is already the biggest center for Islamic finance outside the Muslim world.

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