Starting in September, students can enrol in Canada’s first university course in Islamic finance. Walid Hejazi, the professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management who is developing the three-day program to begin in January 2011, says it will cater to executives who “want to get an edge to differentiate themselves.” Participants will study sharia-compliant financial instruments (Islamic law prohibits usury), as well as the legal and tax implications of Islamic finance.
Hejazi says Canada has been slipping as an attractive locale to foreign investors and that one solution would be to develop sharia finance, pointing to the growth of this $950-billion industry in places like London, England. “A large portion of the people that are attracted to these sharia-compliant securities are in fact not Muslims,” he says. “These are just securities that have a different set of characteristics that anybody can use.”