At 26, lifelong Unitarian Universalist Blake Goud is already unlearning what he was taught in college. His career in Islamic finance is teaching him that the Western economic ideas he learned are not the only models of how to invest and spur financial growth.
Goud is executive director of the Institute of Halal Investing, a nonprofit think tank based in Portland, Ore., that promotes the understanding of Islamic finance among Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It also provides information about the global Islamic finance industry, and how individuals and institutions can invest in it.
“Islamic finance was counter to my economics training, but very familiar to my background as a Unitarian Universalist and my interests in ethical finance,” said Goud, who spoke by telephone from his Oregon office. “Ethical investing is at the heart of Islamic finance.”
Halal is an Arabic word that means “permissible.” Halal finance refers to types of banking and investing that are consistent with Islamic law.
Islam prohibits interest or usury (translated as riba), and it also prohibits risk or uncertainty (known as gharar). That means that many forms of conventional Western finance violate Islamic principles, leaving Muslims with difficult decisions about how to make large purchases, such as cars or homes, and the best way to invest their money. Islamic finance also prohibits investments in businesses that provide goods or services that violate Islamic principles. These include companies that offer alcohol, products containing pork, tobacco, gambling, or pornography.
Article on Unitarian Universalist World.