Islamic Scholars meet in London to discuss Shariah Finance

Some of the world’s leading authorities on Islamic Finance will be meeting in London this week to discuss the launch of new Sharia’a-compliant products for the UK banking market.

The Islamic Bank of Britain’s (IBB) Sharia’a Supervisory Committee (SSC) will get together this Friday (25th January 2008). The agenda for the meeting will include a review of forthcoming Investment (Treasury) and Home Purchase products, as well as undertaking a Sharia’a review of the bank’s activity in 2007.

The Committee consists of Sheikh Dr. Abdul Sattar Abu Ghuddah (Committee Chairman), Sheikh Nizam Yaqoobi and (UK-based) Mufti Abdulkadir Barkatullah, and between them represent almost a century of Sharia’a-compliance experience. All three committee members are very much in demand by Islamic Financial institutions from around the world, and have chosen to utilise their expertise to further the cause of Islamic Finance in collaboration with IBB.

Mufti Barkatullah explained his commitment: “Islamic Bank of Britain is leading the way in promoting Islamic Finance in the UK, and I look forward to helping IBB with its pioneering role in the development of the industry.”

IBB is the first Islamic finance institution in the UK authorised and regulated by the FSA to operate as a bank. All Islamic Banks are overseen by a Committee of qualified and experienced Scholars, who are charged with ensuring that all products, services and processes comply with Islamic principles. In addition to Sharia’a reviews and approving the bank’s operations, the Committee also provides advice and guidance, based on their knowledge and experience within the Islamic Finance industry.

As well as an external and independent review by the Scholars, IBB also has an internal Sharia’a Compliance Officer, who is responsible for continuously monitoring the day-to-day activities of the bank, and reports directly to the Sharia’a Supervisory Committee.

“The work of the Sharia’a Supervisory Committee is fundamental to the existence of IBB,” comments Shaher Abbas, the bank’s Sharia’a Compliance Officer. “Their approval is required before we launch any product, and they regularly review our business to ensure we are in compliance with the Sharia’a. This gives our customers complete peace of mind that we are operating in accordance with Islamic and ethical principles.”

IBB offers a number of products and services to it’s customers including Savings accounts, Treasury accounts, Personal Finance and Commercial Property Finance. The bank recently launched two new Commercial Centres for Islamic Finance – in London and Birmingham – to cater for the needs of its High Net-Worth and Business Banking customers.

About Islamic Bank of Britain

Islamic Bank of Britain has pioneered Sharia’a-compliant retail banking in the UK and has launched a wide range of products, including current accounts, savings accounts and personal finance. The bank was also the first to introduce Sharia’a-compliant Business banking to the UK, and now offers a wide range of institutional and business banking products and services, including commercial property finance.

Several of the bank’s products remain unique in the UK retail market (e.g. Sharia’a-compliant personal finance and Sharia’a-compliant savings accounts).

Whilst the bank offers products and services that are designed in accordance with Sharia’a principles, it is an inclusive bank and welcomes customers of all faiths.

Sharia’a-compliant banking operates without the use of interest. The products that are offered are structured in a different way to those provided by conventional banks. The bank uses the latest technology to ensure that it provides customers with a reliable and quality service on a par with other banks in the UK.

About the Sharia’a Supervisory Committee

Sheikh Dr Abdul Sattar Abu Ghuddah

(Chairman of the Sharia’a Supervisory Committee)

Sheikh Dr Abdul Sattar Abu Ghuddah is one of the world’s leading scholars in the field of Islamic finance. He holds a PhD in Islamic Law from Al Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt.

Dr. Abdul Sattar has taught at various institutes, including the Imam Al Da’awa Institute in Riyadh, the Religious Institute in Kuwait and the Sharia’a College and Law faculty at Kuwait University. He is the Secretary General of the Unified Sharia’a Supervisory Board of Dallah Albaraka Group in Jeddah, a member of the Islamic Fiqh Council in Jeddah and a member of the AAOIFI Sharia’a Board.

Sheikh Nizam Muhammed Seleh Yaqoobi

Sheikh Nizam is a member of a number of Sharia’a Supervisory Boards including the Dow Jones Islamic Index, Bahrain Islamic Bank and the Citi Islamic Investment Bank. He is also a member of the AAOIFI Sharia’a board and has been a visiting lecturer at Harvard University.

Mufti Abdulkadir Barkatullah

Mufti Barkatullah is a prominent Sharia’a scholar with a strong background in economics and finance. He is a member of the Sharia’a Supervisory Committees of several Islamic financial institutions including United National Bank, Alburaq of Arab Banking Corporation London and Lloyds TSB. He is also a senior Imam of Finchley Masjid in London.

Ethnicnow 24/01/2008


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