Title: Islamic enterprises: balancing market opportunities and religious constraints in Islamic sub-economies in the West

Authors: Susan Bagwell

Addresses: Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, London Metropolitan University, London, UK

Abstract: This article explores the role of religion, in this case Islam, within the opportunity structure of Muslim sub-economies in the West. It draws on a case study of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets including interviews with 15 businesses operating in five key Islamic business sectors. The businesses were found to be responding to opportunities resulting from the emergence of new more westernised, pan-ethnic Muslim identities in which religion determines consumption patterns to a greater degree than ethnicity. The owners were often involved in a balancing act, trying to respond to market demands and manage a viable business whilst also adhering to their own Islamic values. The strategies they adopted were influenced by a complex interaction of different variables including Shariah (Islamic) law and its local interpretation, the local context (in particular the size of the Muslim community and the dominance of its Islamic institutions) and the entrepreneur's religious values and resources.

Keywords: Islamic enterprise; religion; opportunity structure; mixed embeddedness; Muslim identity.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2017.083804

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2017 Vol.31 No.1, pp.145 - 163

Received: 21 Jan 2016
Accepted: 24 Jan 2016

Published online: 24 Apr 2017 *

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