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Monday, 19 November 2007

Balancing ethics and finance

The Islamic financial community must embrace the needs of the common man while adhering strictly to the moral and ethical values set out by the Koran if it is to succeed in the marketplace of tomorrow, according to one leading expert speaking at this year's Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Week.While the core skills mastered by "conventional" bankers must be observed, success depends on a implementation of a system that is "ethics- and morality-oriented, based on a value system that only comes from Islam," Professor Dr Malik Muhammad Mahmud Al-Awan told the audience on the second day of the conference.The Professor slammed the "colonial" financial powers that had manipulated the Islamic model in the past, saying that success in the future will be measured by the industry's ability to reach the "common man." "If by some event lightening strikes us tonight and this industry disappears tomorrow, would anyone other than high net-worth individuals miss it? Ultimately the future of anything on this planet depends on the interests of the common man." The professor, who serves as Chief Academic Officer of INCEIF University, warned of the lures that conventional banking methods present the burgeoning Islamic financial market. "While there's nothing wrong with profits, it's the profiteering that we need to be conscious of," he said. DIFC Week runs until November 23 with presentations from some of the leading financial figures in the world including Steven Levitt, Jeffrey Sachs, Larry Summers and Chief Economist of the DIFC, Dr. Nasser Saidi. - (AB, 19 Nov 07)
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