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» Prospects and Challenges for Islamic Finance Development

Media Campaigns for Raising Islamic Communities Awareness of Islamic Banking Services

In the framework of facing challenges of Islamic Banking including the lack of its awareness in the community, a fairly large number of civilians in all Islamic countries still see that the difference between Islamic banking and traditional banking is not intrinsic. Traditional banks present similar services and the difference is only in the name. Thus, instead of interest in
traditional banks, there is return in Islamic banks. While, instead of increasing the interest due to default in traditional banks, Islamic banks pose a default penalty.

Standard Chartered Saadiq Dubai-based Bank launched an educative program of the Islamic Banking Services in January 2015 with the purpose of raising the community's awareness and culture of how to deal responsibly with their financial future in compliance with Islamic Shari'a in UAE.

Mr Afaq Khan, the universal CEO of Standard Chartered Saadiq, declared in a news release that this step aims at the participation in supporting and developing the communities where the bank works in order to prepare the young people financially in a better way so that their future participation would increase in the long term for making Dubai the capital of Islamic Economy.

He added that the new launch presented by Standard Chartered Saadiq participates in developing the ongoing growth move in Dubai and developing a long term sustainability to Emirates local community with respect to helping the young people in particular.

The educative program is available in Arabic and English and it includes a basic educative unit and an advanced one focusing on the ban of banking transactions involving Riba, in addition to the fair distribution of profits and losses and the ban of transactions involving doubts or risks.

In the same framework, State Bank of Pakistan determined launching a second stage of the huge media campaign that aims at raising the awareness of Islamic Finance and enhancing its acceptance among the consumers in the second largest country in the world in terms of Muslims' population.

The campaign comes in the framework of a five-year plan set by the central bank to the sector. The declaration of the new stage was in the end of last December and it would turn from enhancing the comprehensive view of the sector to raising the consumers' awareness of the Islamic Finance value.

A Belgian Professor Discusses Capitalism Crisis and Praises Islamic Finance in Algeria

In a forum in Algeria, Professor Jan Parijs, the Belgian specialist in Economy and Banking, stated that it is essential to “give due regard to the principles of the profession ethics and human values in the economic activities in general and the financial and banking transactions in particular”, referring to the Islamic Banking in this respect.

The Belgian Professor confirmed on the necessity “to find a conformity between human values and financial and economic systems and practices.” In this respect, he referred to the Islamic Banking provided that it respects the essence of the principles stated according to what reported by 'Al-Khabar' wide-spread Algerian newspaper published on Wednesday.

The Ethical Role of Islamic Banks

A researcher suggests establishing “House of Charity” to the Islamic banks to service the poor.

Mr Abdul Halim Singhafor is a Malaysian researcher in Islamic Finance issues and a holder of Islamic Finance Kingdom Prize for 2014 in Malaysia. He stated that he had presented a suggestion, describing it as “a new idea that would participate in helping the poor and changing their lives” in an article under the title of “We need New Banking Plans for Facing Poverty”.

He explained that the idea would provide the poor with their needs, on one hand, and enhance 'The Morality' of Islamic Banking on the other hand. It is based on a demand from the Central Banks to issue a license that allows the Islamic banks to establish “House of Charity” for collecting Charitable donations and utilizing them to offer the financial services to the poorest category in the community.

He believed that this kind of step would insure an “ongoing charity” to the poor which is enough to liberate thousands of people from the oppression of poverty. It would also help the Islamic banks in developing new financial tools based on “Charity Ideology” to enhance the social justice and facilitate granting and utilizing the donations in the same time.

He determines some categories that could benefit from this service including the families that live below the poverty line, those who lost their jobs, and the homeless. He referred in an article he published in the Malaysian newspaper “Jakarta Post”: “We are all aware of the existence of both public and private sectors. Nevertheless, there is actually a third sector
i.e the social welfare sector which includes those who exerted highest effort possible without being able to improve their life circumstances. Hence, we should help them.”

Quoted from Islamic Banking Magazine, 2 January 2015 AD Edition.