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IDB expert calls for steps to promote Islamic banking in pluralist societies

Last updated: Sunday, March 10, 2013 2:02 PM
M. Azmi Omar, Director General of Islamic Research and Training Institute, releases the book on Islamic banking by giving a copy to Muhammad Alungal. — Courtesy photo

Hassan Cheruppa
Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — A leading economist has emphasized the importance of embracing Islamic banking to confront challenges facing the global economy.

M. Azmi Omar, Director General of Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) at the Islamic Development Bank, said the Islamic banking industry could offer solutions to economic crises besetting many countries of the world.

Omar made the remarks while delivering a presentation on “Features of Islamic Banking and Its Challenges” at Red Sea Palace Hotel Jeddah on Thursday on the sidelines of a book launch. The function was organized by the Jeddah-based Islamic Dawa Council (IDC).

Omar stressed the need for promoting Islamic banking as the best banking option for not only Muslims but all people of the world.

“More than 50 countries have allowed Islamic banking institutions. Even Western countries have realized the significance of the interest-free banking system and this was evident from the growing popularity of this industry there,” he said while drawing attention to the demand raised by the Wall Street protesters to introduce Islamic banking to solve the economic crisis faced by the United States, the world’s largest economy.

“Islamic banking has become unavoidable in the global economic order. As it is based on moral principles, Islamic banking prevents exploitation and targets sustainable development,” he said while attributing this as the major factor for its wide acceptance, especially among non-Muslims.

The global Islamic banking assets are forecast to cross $1.8 trillion in 2013, up from $1.3 trillion in 2011, according to recent reports.

Omar sees bright future for Islamic banking in countries like India where Muslims are a minority. He called on the Indian government to make necessary amendments to its banking regulations to allow Islamic banking operations. He also suggested changes to terminology used in the industry to remove misgivings among non-Muslims living in pluralist societies.
“Through its dual banking system, Malaysia could attract all types of clients to Islamic banking,” said Omar, himself a Malaysian.

Omar released the new book on Islamic banking by K.T.M. Kutty by giving a copy to Muhammad Alungal, chairman and managing director of Al-Abeer Medical Group.

Alungal and M.P. Suleiman Faizee delivered felicitation speeches.

Earlier, journalist A.M. Sajith introduced the book. Kutty shared his experience while preparing the book in Malayalam language. K.C. Abdurahman presided over the session, which began with a recitation from the Holy Qur’an by Hussein Baqawi. K.H.M. Muneer welcomed the guests while Naser Chavakkad gave the vote of thanks.

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