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Saturday, 17 January 2009

Kenya: Muslim scholars discuss Islamic banking

Leading Muslim scholars held a seminar on Friday to discuss emerging issues in Islamic Banking in view of new developments in the sector.
The conference held at the Nomad Hotel in Garissa, was organised by Barclays Bank of Kenya Ltd. under its Islamic Banking Division, La Riba.
Led by the Chief Kadhi, Sheikh Hammad Kassim, the scholars deliberated on Islamic banking issues. Sheikh Kassim, who sits on the Barclays Shariah Advisory Board, said the bank strives to be 100 percent Shariah-compliant in its Islamic banking products.
"In the annual reviews conducted by the board, I would like to confirm that the Barclays Islamic Banking Division is in line with the requirements of the Muslim faith,'' noted the Chief Kadhi.
Barclays Head of Islamic Banking, Omar Sheikh, gave an overview on one of the fastest-growing financial product in the market, noting that Barclays set the pace in Kenya when it pioneered the country's first Shariah-compliant financial product in 2006.
Barclays Bank Regional Managing Director, Adan Mohamed, said the bank launched La Riba in response to the needs of the bank's growing Muslim customer base.
"We are continuously looking at ways to enhance our products and services to ensure we anticipate and meet the evolving needs of all customers - this is key to our sustainability strategy."
The launch of La Riba was facilitated with the guidance of a team of highly respected Islamic scholars. The bank has since introduced three Islamic banking suites and plans to expand its footprint this year.
To ensure compliance with Shariah law, the bank is guided by a robust process and governance framework, in addition to the annual reviews conducted by the Advisory Board.
Other advisory board members include: Sheikh Khalfan Khamis, Chairman - National Council of Muslim Scholars of Kenya; Sheikh Muhammad Alasow, renowned Islamic jurist; Sheikh Abdirizak Yakub, renowned Islamic jurist and Sheikh Ahmad Msallam, Director - Muslim World League.
Barclays customers, regardless of their faith, can benefit from La Riba account features including interest-free banking; free cash handling; access to funds at more than 117 Barclays branches and 220 ATMs countrywide; and worldwide access at ATMs displaying the VISA logo.
(Kenya Broadcasting Corp)
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