File - A man walks past a branch of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank along Khalid Bin Al-Waleed Street in Dubai, in this May 30, 2010. REUTERS/Mosab Omar
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Islamic banking is based on core principles of the religion. So it is striking that some banks are removing the word "Islam" from their names – a sign of both the potential of Islamic finance to grow and the obstacles to it becoming mainstream.The Abu Dhabi bank is now trying to persuade roughly 110,000 former Barclays customers to stay with ADIB rather than moving to conventional banks.Removing the word "Islam" from their names is a way of avoiding any perception that Islamic banks focus on religious issues while neglecting aspects such as quality of service.Islamic Bank of Britain, which was acquired in January by Qatar's largest Islamic bank Masraf Al Rayan, is studying whether to rebrand itself to appeal to a wider customer base, said IBB chief executive Sultan Choudhury. Tirad Mahmoud, ADIB's chief executive, said Islamic banks had an advantage over conventional banks in being able to stress the moral foundations of their business – a consideration which has become more important since banking abuses fueled the global financial crisis.For example, Islamic banks reject much of the complex financial engineering used by conventional banks.
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