Admiralty House and Horse Guards' Parade
Owned by Islamic financiers. Governed by Sharia Law. Do go on. “Admiralty House is one of two more public buildings that are revealed today to operate under Islamic law following the revelations that government properties were quietly transferred to finance an Islamic bond scheme in 2014”. So quietly was this done that the gov.uk website put out a comprehensive article on the exercise at the time.
And that article, “Government issues first Islamic bond”, tells a rather different picture: “The government has today (25 June 2014) cemented Britain’s position as the western hub for Islamic finance by becoming the first country outside the Islamic world to issue sovereign Sukuk, the Islamic equivalent of a bond … The government confirmed that £200 million of Sukuk, maturing on 22 July 2019, have been sold to investors based in the UK and in the major hubs for Islamic finance around the world”. It’s a bond issue. But an Islamic one.
What does the issue involve? “Britain’s sovereign Sukuk uses the Al-Ijara structure, the most common structure for sovereign Sukuk, with rental payments on property providing the income for investors. The Sukuk is underpinned by three central government properties”. Rental payments on the buildings replace the conventional western device of interest, which is Riba, or forbidden, in Islam. That is all.
The buildings concerned continue to be used as before, but you would not know that from the Mail’s rant: “now governed by Sharia law … operate under Islamic law … they must conform to Sharia law … imposing Sharia law … must meet the terms of Sharia law … operate under the code of Sharia law … being governed by Sharia law”. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point. And in any case, this is complete crap.
All the properties involved, including Admiralty House, which, Mail people, is at the north side of Horse Guards' Parade, not halfway up the Strand as your map claims, have had an alcohol ban imposed. Under English law. No Sharia Law was involved. And it gets worse: the Mail claims “The Treasury agreed to make the Sukuk fully compliant with the code of Islamic law”, but Sukuk IS compliant with Islamic law by definition.
This is a lamentably bad article, slanted to frighten the Mail’s readers. The reality is that the Government has identified a new market into which to sell its bonds and therefore raise money. The issue was oversubscribed by over ten times. There is clear scope to raise more money this way in the future. And the Mail whines about an alcohol ban.