FINEX: Financial Exclusion, Islamic Finance and Housing in the Nordic Countries

FINEX: Financial Exclusion, Islamic Finance and Housing in the Nordic Countries
Led by Torkel Brekke
Aug 2017 - Dec 2020

​Money and finance have been regarded as major moral problems in all the world religions. The past few decades have seen a revival in Islamic thinking about banking and finance. Some Muslims believe that modern banks are usurious and immoral and they work to create Islamic banks as an alternative. 

While Islamic banking is big in the Middle East and Southeast Asia it has had little success in the West so far.

​The research project FINEX is designed to find out to what extent Islamic norms about money and finance result in the exclusion of Muslims from the financial system in the four Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. 

Such financial exclusion could have potential consequences for the economic integration and the wellbeing of a significant number of people. For instance, we believe that some Muslims may experience disadvantages in the housing market because they avoid bank loans. 

FINEX will combine several types of data and methods to explore this mechanism of exclusion and we will fill an important gap in the knowledge about the economic inclusion of migrants. We will use four types of data. 

  1. we will carry out a survey among Muslims across the four Nordic countries
  2. we will use existing register data from national statisticial bureaus, 
  3. we will use data from banks, and 
  4. we will collect qualitative data through interviews and focus groups. 

Four workpackages are organized around the four types of data to be used, while a fifth workpackage is devoted to bringing the data and their interpretation together in 8-10 academic articles in peer-reviewed journals and in several other policy-relevant forms of dissemination. 

We cooperate with Muslim organizations and communities across the Nordic countries in our research and we also hope to involve financial regulators and politicians in debates about our results. 

Research Groups


Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Borchgrevink, Kaja & Ida Roland Birkvad (2021) Religious norms and homeownership among Norwegian Muslim women, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2021.1965866: 1–18.
Borchgrevink, Kaja & Marta Bivand Erdal (2021) The Necessity of Taking a Loan, and the Necessity of Not Doing So: Islamic Finance among Muslim Minorities in Denmark and Norway, Nordic Journal of Religion and Society 34(2): 117–129.
Brekke, Torkel & Malik Larsen (2020) Allah, Villa, Volvo: Muslim Professionals in the Nordic Countries and Their Financial Attitudes and Practices, Open Library of Humanities 6(2): 1–34.
Brekke, Torkel; Lene Kühle; Göran Larsson & Tuomas Martikainen (2019) Mosques, Muslims, Methods: the Role of Mosques in Research about Muslims in Europe, Journal of Muslims in Europe 8(2): 216–233.
Brekke, Torkel (2018) Halal Money: Financial inclusion and demand for Islamic banking in Norway, Research & Politics 5(1): 1–7.

Popular Article

Borchgrevink, Kaja; Marta Bivand Erdal & Ida Roland Birkvad (2022) En mangfoldig befolkning stiller nye krav til boligmarkedet [A more diverse population places new demands on the housing market], Utrop, 4 November.

PRIO Policy Brief

Carling, Jørgen & Marta Bivand Erdal (2021) Religiosity and Home Ownership among Muslims in Norway, PRIO Policy Brief, 16. Oslo: PRIO.
Carling, Jørgen & Marta Bivand Erdal (2021) Religiøsitet og boligeierskap blant muslimer i Norge [Religiosity and Home Ownership among Muslims in Norway], PRIO Policy Brief, 16. Oslo: PRIO.
Brekke, Torkel; Kaja Borchgrevink & Edin Kozaric (2021) Islamic Finance, Religious Norms and Financial Practices, PRIO Policy Brief, 15. Oslo: PRIO.

PRIO Paper

Brekke, Torkel; Siri Aas Rustad; Kaja Borchgrevink & Edin Kozaric (2021) Attitudes to Housing and Finance among Muslims in Mosque Networks in the Nordic Countries, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.

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