“Islamic Banking is the right platform to boost ‘green financing’ as it is based on the concept of promoting good practices and values,” said R Seetharaman, Chief Executive Officer of Doha Bank, delivering the inaugural address at a seminar on Islamic economics, organised by the Indian Islamic Association – Qatar (IIAQ), under the title “Towards an Alternative Economy” at Omar Bin Al Khattab Preparatory School for Boys in Doha on Friday.
Seetharaman said Islamic banking is not just a financial system but it is part of a total value-based social system that seeks to enhance the general welfare of society as a whole.
“Sustainable environment development, developing water resources, facing global warming, ensuring women’s participation and promotion of small-scale enterprises are all part of green financing. This is clearly an area where Islamic Banking can play a pivotal role,” he said.
Seetharaman, however, noted that Islamic Banking is currently in its infancy and faces several challenges. Young people should be encouraged to take up these challenges to ensure that this significant economic system carries through and plays a leading role in the current global financial stage.
He added that Islamic Banking is growing in popularity as Japan has just issued five Sukook Ijara (Islamic leasing bonds) and many other countries including Italy, Canada and Spain are showing great interest in such products and services of Islamic banking. In the UK, there is a full-fledged Islamic bank, called the Islamic Bank of Britain, and there are 22 counters at conventional banks that offer Islamic banking services and products.
Seetharaman noted that infrastructure development projects in India can attract foreign investment if the country opens up its banking sector to Islamic banking. India’s 11th Planning Commission has earmarked $542bn for this sector, but hardly any money comes from the Gulf-based financiers as they are reluctant to deposit in an interest-based system.
P P Abdur Rasheed, former Head of Economics Dept at Government College, Malappuram, India, and K Abdullah Hassan, Head of Research at Islamic University, Santapuram, India, also delivered speeches on ‘Fundamentals of Islamic Economics’ and ‘Basic Principles of the Zakah System in Islam’.
Nizar Kocheri, lawyer and noted humanitarian activist, delivered a felicitation speech and Abdul Wahid Nadvi, Acting President of Indian Islamic Association, Qatar, presided over the ceremony. V T Faisal, General Secretary of IIAQ, welcomed the guests and Taj Aluva proposed a vote of thanks.