Very little research has examined the emergence of Western Muslims into the elite professions that are central to the operation of the capitalist free market and that serve as a central location of economic and political power. Less research still has examined how this is shaping citizenship among Muslims and the future of Islam in the West. These professions include finance, trade and auditing and supporting free market infrastructure including commercial law, consulting and the entrepreneurial arms of government public service. Many Muslim men and women in these professions maintain a commitment to their faith and are often at the forefront of identifying opportunities for the application of Islamic principles to the free market through the development of social engineering mechanisms such as Islamic finance and home loans, Islamic wills, marriage contracts, businesses and context-specific solutions for Muslim clients. These may have a potentially profound impact on belonging and practice for current and future generations of Western Muslims. The political and economic clout (and broader potential public appeal) of these new Muslim elites often significantly outweighs that of Imams and Sheikhs and thus challenges traditional textually based Islam. This article, grounded in empirical research, seeks to build upon very limited research looking at Muslim elites, exploring these developments with specific reference to professionals working in Islamic finance and law across the Western contexts of Australia and the United States, two countries with capitalist free markets and significant Muslim minorities.
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