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Muslim Center’s Developer to Use Islamic Loan Plan

The developer of the planned Muslim community center and mosque near ground zero hopes to finance the bulk of the $140 million project using instruments developed to allow many Muslim investors to comply with religious prohibitions on interest.
Most of that core group, Mr. Gamal,the developer, expects, would be non-Muslim neighborhood residents and commuters. Muslims from around the region would make up a larger but less frequently visiting group — what he calls the “dinner and a date” crowd — many of them choosing the cheapest $375 family membership for cultural programs.
In sukuk construction projects, the investors own the real estate asset, and the developers lease it back; the investors’ profit on the rent is analogous to the yield on a bond. Some Islamic scholars do not accept the system, but it is widely used in places like Malaysia and Dubai.

Could women play a bigger role in Islamic finance?

Recent Western debate about the role of women in Islam may have centered on the veil, but from its early years, Islam was receptive to women in business and finance. And today, Malaysia is an example of how making money has little to do with gender in Islam.
Not only does Malaysia boast a female central bank governor devoted to helping Islamic finance grow, but Malaysia's Islamic institutions also boast women executives in top positions.
More surprising perhaps, Malaysia is also home to several woman scholars of Islamic law, or sharia, who provide companies with the approval they need to brand their business as compliant with Muslim principles that include a ban on interest.

Hyperion Launches Islamic Equity Fund, Targets Mideast

Australian investment manager Hyperion Asset Management has launched an Islamic equity fund that will initially target Middle East investors seeking to benefit from Australia's economic growth potential.
Hyperion uses a proprietary process to manage a high-conviction portfolio made up of a limited set of stocks that meet strict selection criteria, for Shariah compliance and other business attributes, the company said in a statement.

QIB bond sale could raise up to $750m

Qatar Islamic Bank could raise as much as $750m by selling five-year Islamic bonds.
Qatar Islamic said last week it would start meeting with investors in the Middle East, Asia and Europe starting September 24 and had hired Credit Suisse Group, HSBC Holdings and Qatari investment bank QInvest to manage the issuance.
Akber Khan, a director at Al Rayan Investment in Doha has the strong oppinion that the demand for it has been very strong

The IFSB to hold two awareness programmes in December 2010

The Islamic Financial Services Board will be organising two awareness programmes in December 2010. The first one is a seminar on legal issues in the Islamic financial services, while the other is a seminar on the role of Islamic finance in the development of Africa.
The two awareness programmes are open for participation by the IFSBIFSB member organisations, which currently stand at 195 organisations from 41 countries, and other interested parties. The events are described below. The details of both programmes and their registration forms are available on the IFSBIFSB website (
Bank Indonesia is hosting the Seminar on Legal Aspects of Islamic Asset Securitisation and Insolvency Regimes. The Workshop will cover the following topics; 1) Concept and contracts of Islamic finance; 2) Structures of Islamic financial products; and 3) Overview of the IFSBIFSB Standards and Guiding Principles.

BLME First Half 2010 Financial Results

Bank of London and The Middle East, the London based wholesale, Sharia'a compliant bank, today reported a healthy return to profitability for the first half of 2010.
BLME's results were spurred by the:
* strong performance by the Markets division, particularly the management of the Bank's investment portfolio and capital;
* continued top quartile performance of the US Dollar Income Fund;
* cash recoveries from assets that were subject to credit impairment provisions in 2009; and
* strengthening of the Corporate Banking team, resulting in a steady acceleration in earnings and improved contributions from the three financing areas: Property, Leasing and Trade Finance.

New Key AAOIFI Standards: Contemplation Option, Defects Option and Honesty Option

Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions, the leading international organization that formulates and publishes accounting, auditing, ethics, governance, and Shari’a standards for the Islamic banking and finance industry, issued three new Shari'a standards, namely "Contemplation Option", "Defects Option" and "Honesty Option".
Dr. Alchaar pointed out that AAOIFIAAOIFI standards are adopted by more than 90% of Islamic banks around the world.

Indonesia to issue 2.36 trln rupiah sukuk in Q4

Indonesia's government will issue 2.364 trillion rupiah ($264.2 million) worth of sukuk in the fourth quarter of this year, a debt office official said on Tuesday.

Crisis and opportunity

Afghanistan seems like a country which is tailor-made for Islamic finance, but it still doesn't have a single Islamic bank. However, moves are afoot to bring it to the country. Afghanistan has rarely been out of the news over the past nine years, as around 40 countries have been endeavouring to turn the country from one of the poorest to something more stable and prosperous. The economy, after years of desperate hardship has been growing at around 10 per cent a year, admittedly from a very low base.
The banking system has been created virtually from scratch and the Central Bank of Afghanistan or Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), as it is better known, is at the forefront of the change, although the transformation not has been without its challenges.
The country has 17 (mostly private) banks including a number of foreign banks such as Standard Chartered, Punjab National Bank, National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank (also from Pakistan) and Bank Alfalah.

Analysis: Islamic finance seems overwhelmed by scholar reforms

Islamic finance is toughening supervision of its powerful religious advisers as shareholders worldwide demand increasing accountability from directors, but key reforms may do little to boost independence and transparency.
Islamic banking is overhauling rules that govern the conduct of its influential sharia advisers, with competition for investor dollars and a growing market putting pressure on the once-arcane industry to adopt clearer, more uniform guidelines.
Bahrain-based industry body AAOIFI is drafting rules to regulate sharia scholars' shareholdings in banks and address concerns such as the number of sharia supervisory boards on which a single scholar can effectively serve.
The International Sharia Research Academy for Islamic Finance, which is backed by Malaysia's central bank, is planning a global regulatory body for sharia advisers.

Bond aims to tap into strong investor appetite

Dubai aims to cash in on strong demand for high-yielding emerging market debt with its first foray since the Dubai World restructuring was announced.
Analysts said the emirate's dollar bond issue, weeks after its flagship conglomerate clinched a debt restructuring deal, was timed to take advantage of more favourable market conditions than at any time since the Dubai crisis broke.
Investor hunger for decent yields, particularly in emerging markets, may help make Dubai's return a success. The overall interest in this bond and potential oversubscription may boost market sentiment.

Nigeria will be the Islamic hub by 2020

The hub, that is, for Sharia finance -- and with Sharia finance comes Sharia, which doesn't give something good for the country's non-Muslims. The country in a "few weeks" will issue guidelines to allow conventional banks to open so-called Islamic windows and subsidiaries.

Malaysia Debt Ventures plans RM500m sukuk

Malaysia Debt Ventures Bhd, a venture capital firm owned by the Ministry of Finance, plans to issue about RM500 million of Islamic bonds in its third sukuk sale next year to fund investments, chief executive officer Md. Zubir Ansori Yahaya said in Kuala Lumpur.

Islamic Bank of Britain signs up AMPD

Islamic Bank of Britain has joined forces with the Alliance of Mortgage Packagers and Distributors (AMPD) to offer the full range of its Sharia-compliant mortgages. IBB’s Home Purchase Plan (HPP) allows those consumers seeking a mortgage, home finance without the use of interest.
Islamic Bank of Britain’s Home Purchase Plan (HPP) will give AMPD’s members an alternative mortgage product which is transparent and easy to use, competitive enough to square up to conventional mortgages and has the leading edge of being an ethical product.

International real estate portfolio managed by KFH worth $1.5 bln

The International Real Estate Department Manager at Kuwait Finance House (KFH) Ali Al-Ghannam said that investing in the field of international real estate is one of the KFH’s fruitful fields of business, since many global markets were affected by the global economic crisis in various fields, such as credit, but the value of their real estate were not affected in general and continued to achieve rewarding revenues to their owners.
Al-Ghannam, who made the previous statements during his participation in the annual meeting of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) in Chicago, stated that KFH’s continuously growing international real estate portfolio manages assets worth $1.5 billion.


Sukuk model grows in strength in spite of Islamic compliance doubts

In November 2007 Islamic finance, which until then had been soaring on the back of a bullish economy and a climate of more liberal interpretation, hit its first weak point.
Sheikh?Muhammad?Taqi Usmani, head of the religious board at the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for ­Islamic Financial Institutions - the body that sets standards for Islamic finance products - declared that around 85 per cent of the sukuk in issuance broke key principles of Islam and were not sharia-­compliant.
But it is coming back. Islamic finance as a whole, of course, never really went away. Its ups and downs merely mirrored those of conventional finance, with some exceptions - shortly after Lehman Brothers went bust investors fled conventional funds for the perceived haven of sharia-compliant structures and all things Middle Eastern. Large restructurings, such as that of Dubai World subsidiary Nakheel (see box) and Kuwait Investment Dar, characterised the market and new-money deals were few and far between.

Bank in new Islamic investment initiative

Qatar First Investment Bank (QFIB) and specialist regional asset manager Gulfmena Alternative Investments plan to set up a Shariah-compliant asset management firm to tap into rising demand for Islamic investment products.

Moves to establish a local Islamic bank face hurdles

Korea is hoping to attract funds from oil-rich Middle East countries by setting up a local Islamic bank in the country, but the effort is still facing many challenges.
Al Amir Bank would be based on the principles of Islamic Shariah law, which bans charging interest on financial transactions.
But the committee has had problems finding Islamic investors, preferably from the Gulf region.
One problem Korea is confronting is that one of the most prominent banks from the Middle East in operation here is Iran’s Bank Mellat, whose operations were recently suspended as part of Korea’s sanctions against Iran for its suspected nuclear weapons program.

Standard Chartered Bank launches first Islamic US Dollar Nostro Account

Standard Chartered Bank today announced the launch of the first Islamic US Dollar Nostro Account in the United States.
Islamic banks across the world will now be able to earn Shariah-compliant profits on their account balances at Standard Chartered Bank New York by using this facility.
The facility will operate on the Islamic finance principle of Commodity Murabaha. Profits will be paid on a monthly basis.
The Saadiq US Dollar Nostro Accounts will be available globally, including the Middle East & Malaysia. To ensure Standard Chartered’s products comply with the principles of Shariah, the Bank is advised by an independent committee comprising three of the world’s most renowned Shariah scholars – Dr. Abdul Sattar Abu Ghuddah, Sheikh Nizam Yaquby and Dr. Mohamed Ali Elgari.

Nakheel plans $1.6 bln bond, part of debt plan

Property developer Nakheel NAKHD.UL plans to issue a 6 billion dirham Islamic bond as part of its debt repayment plan as it restarts several key projects. Under Nakheel's restructuring plan, trade creditors have been offered 40 percent of what they are owed in cash and the remaining 60 percent through a sukuk Islamic bond.
Dubai contractor Arabtec's chief financial officer Ziad Makhzoumi said Nakheel had applied for listing on Nasdaq Dubai. Nakheel, the property arm of state-owned conglomerate Dubai World and undergoing parallel negotiations with its creditors, has yet to secure backing for its plan.
The developer expects to complete its debt restructuring by the end of the year.

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