Participants in a conference on Islamic finance and interest-free banking called on the Reserve Bank of India to remove hurdles in the way of establishing Shari’ah-compliant banks in the country. They also demanded that Islamic economy and interest-free banking should be made part of the curricula in schools and universities.
E. Ahmed, Union Minister of State for Railways, emphasised the potential of an alternative banking system. Inaugurating the conference organised by the Rouzathul Uloom Arabic College (RUA), in the Farooq College campus near Calicut, he said:
“Handling Islamic banking in a secular country like India that already has the conventional banking system is very important.”
“Islamic finance can have a large potential in India as the country has the world’s second highest population of Muslims. Islamic finance is based on Islamic principles and at the same time, applicable to the whole society,” E Ahmed added on the occasion.
Speakers at the conference pointed out that India provides abundant opportunities for Islamic banking which is gaining popularity in Europe and America as well as Muslim countries. “When London, Singapore and Tokyo can have Islamic banks, why not Mumbai and Kochi,” asked H Abdur Raqeeb, general secretary of the Indian Centre for Islamic Finance, New Delhi while addressing the two-day conference in Calicut.
T Balakrishnan, Principal Secretary to the Department of Industries in Kerala, said the institution based on Islamic finance set to begin in Kerala will have branches all over the country and will gradually emerge as a Global Islamic Bank. He was presenting the blueprint for Islamic finance institution in Kerala. The institution will be registered as non-banking financial institution as the Reserve Bank of India has not yet permitted to begin Islamic banks. The institution will have a private management, but will be supported by the government, he added.
The Shari’ah board for the Islamic financial institution in Kerala must have an international representation, said Rajya Sabha member and leading industrialist PV Abdul Vahab. He also congratulated the government of Kerala for going forward with Islamic banking at a time when the world equates Islam with terrorism.
The Islamic banking is a 1450 billion dollar industry spread over 75 countries in the world, pointed out KV Kunhammed Koya, president of the Rouzathul Uloom Association. Islamic finance will transform the way the world is functioning now, opined Prof KA Jaleel, former vice-chancellor, Calicut University. Islamic finance can solve many problems of the world, including the current financial crisis, said Dr Azad Mooppan, chairman of the Dr Mooppan’s Health Care group.
Kerala state Minister for Industries Elamaram Kareem presided over the inaugural session. Dr Ahmed Salem al Wahishi, Arab League Ambassador to India, Khalaf Alnemary, Muslim World League, Makkah, Dr. Mohammad Al-Yamani, Professor, King Saud University, Riyadh, Dr. Abdurahman Altammami, Ministry of Education, Riyadh, Essam Ishaq, Shariah Advisor, Discover Islam Centre, Bahrain and Abdurahman Bajandooh, WAMY, were among the foreign dignitaries present at the conference.
PK Ahmed, vice-president of the Rouzathul Uloom Association, Prof P Muhammed Kuttaseri, former principal of the Rouzathul Uloom Arabic College and P Kunhahammed, president of the RUA College, also spoke at the function. Dr Hussain Madavoor, principal of the RUA College, welcomed the audience and guests. S Muhammed Younus, secretary of the RUA College, delivered the vote of thanks.