“In her 2011 thesis for Athabasca University entitled, An Islamic Banking Model in Canada, Laura Edward, MBA and Senior Project Manager at RBC, stated the pros and cons of hosting a Shari’ah-compliant banking system in the country. An Islamic financial institution in Canada could leverage a growing niche market and its benefits could create spillover effects in the economy, wrote Edward. On the downside, there are no existing charters that allow for Islamic banks to flourish, and it is not clear how big the market size actually is, she notes.” 

For Muslims in Canada, Halem believes that charging everything to credit cards is difficult to get used to. Most Muslims, he says, try to avoid credit cards due to the interest rates attached to them. He says in Egypt banks look at a client’s whole financial history, not their credit history, when determining who gets loans.

“I think the credit history, this is not typically reflecting your financial situation,” he says.

Halem recommends taking cues from Islamic banks, pointing out that the financial crisis that has affected much of North America and Europe has not affected the Middle East to a great extent.