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Thursday, 23 October 2008

Australia considers adopting Islamic banking

Financial institutions and the government are considering introducing Islamic banking and its principles to the Australian financial system.

Industry experts say Islamic banking is one of the fastest growing sectors in the global banking industry, and is worth an estimated $US200* billion worldwide.

The Asialink Islamic Banking Colloquium, held in the Australian city of Melbourne, has heard Islamic banks have largely escaped the fallout from the economic crisis by adhering to Islamic principles of prohibiting interest and sharing of profit and loss between banks and borrowers.

A leading academic on Islamic banking, Professor Abdullah Saeed from Melbourne University, says there is potential for further growth in Australia.

"There is a significant Muslim community here, but its not just for Muslims in Australia," he said.

"A lot of conventional banks are interested in and a number of Islamic banks are actually moving into Australia so we're not just talking about a Muslim issue.

"It is one of the ways of dealing with banking and finance [which just] happened to be called Islamic."

(ABC, 23-Oct-08)

Editor's note: * latest estimate, USD700b.

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