Sacred spaces in virtual places: Locating religion in the financial market

Beate Kerlis
Journal for the Study of Religion  
Up until the late 1980s, Muslims had largely been excluded from participating in the global financial market due to their inability to discern halal (permissible) investments from non-permissible investments or income. This predicament changed after the endorsement and global adoption of the Shari'ah screen. The Shari'ah screen aims to ensure that organisations seeking to raise investment capital from pious investors in the financial market space are indeed acting within parameters that are
more » ... giously permissible for Muslim investors. Within one decade, the Shari'ah screen gave rise to a new space: the Islamic financial market space. While still small, this space has been growing faster than its secular counterpart. This paper utilises Kim Knott's spatial framework as a theoretical and methodological resource for exploring the boundaries between religion and non-religion. By examining the various ways in which the "sacred" operates across these boundaries, Knott's framework provides a critical lens through which to enable a systematic description, analysis, and contextualisation of Islam within the global financial market space-and, more so, how the Islamic financial market space is practised, represented, lived, produced, and reproduced.
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