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Mon 30 Apr 2007 10:27 PM

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DIB gets approval for Syria branch

Dubai Islamic Bank plans to more than double its network by mid-2008.

Dubai Islamic Bank, the third-largest Gulf Arab Islamic lender by market value, said on Monday it had received approval to set up an Islamic bank in Syria.

Dubai Islamic said in November it planned to open branches in Saudi Arabia and Qatar as part of an expansion plan to more than double its network to 100 by the middle of next year.

The lender is seeking to finalise the licencing procedure for a Syrian branch, Dubai Islamic said in a statement.

Demand among the world's 1.2 billion Muslims for financial services that comply with their faith is surging.

Sharia bans the charging of interest, equating it with usury, and prohibits investment in businesses that trade in alcohol, pornography or gambling.

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