Hillary Clinton brought together hundreds of first, second-generation Americans or Americans-to-be at the Secretary’s Global Diaspora Forum in Washington DC, the reason being to put diversity into work.
It is well known that America ranks first among countries with the largest number of international migrants. That is seen as a potential in America’s national strategy of employing smart-power.
$46 billion is the amount of remittances sent by US Diaspora in 2010, according to the State Department, almost twice the $28.7 billion US Official Development Assistant in 2009. As Hillary Clinton once said: "Using people-to-people exchange is the core of smart power”.
Chronicle of Philanthropy listed Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) as one of the top 25 largest online fundraising organizations in the United States in 2010. It seems that these nonprofit organisations raised more than $1.1 billion online in 2010.
IRUSA raised more than $147 million for charity in its 2009 fiscal year, doubling its earnings from the year before.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 23, 2011 – The Muslim Philanthropy Award winners were announced at the 4th annual banquet of the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists in Dubai, UAE.
Every year, the Muslim Philanthropy Award honors an individual, a grantmaking institution and a corporation for their distinguished contribution to the field of philanthropy.
The Muslim Philanthropy Awards for 2011 were awarded to H.R.H. Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (Personality) for demonstrating outstanding civic and charitable responsibility; Islamic Development Bank, Saudi Arabia (Grantmaker) for showing long-standing commitment to economic empowerment, human dignity, and institutional building; and Abraaj Capital, UAE (Corporation) for demonstrating longstanding leadership in advancing strategic philanthropy, creativity in responding to societal problems, and having significant positive impact on corporate giving in MENA region.
“1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World,”, an exhibition that opened up in December 2010 in New York Hall of Science showed the influence stretched from China to Spain for hundreds of centuries.
“1001 Inventions” is a global educational initiative. The aim of this is to promote awareness of a thousand years of scientific and cultural achievements from Muslim civilization from the 7th century onwards.
The original creators of this initiative are: Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation, FSTC, a British based non-profit, non-religious and academic organization.
First Bahrain announced that it still captivates overseas companies to set up business in Bahrain. Switz Group chose Majaal warehousing and logistics complex for its location to serve the expansion of their subsidiary brand, named Bahrain Masterbaker WLL.
They will import products such as the ever-popular cup cakes, pastries and samosa leaves from their Saudi Masterbaker operation in Saudi Arabia.
Another subsidiary, named Masterbaker Trading WLL, is also being setup in the same facility but it will import bakery ingredients from Europe and USA.
Alberto Brugnoni, ASSAIF, will moderate the Session on 'Finance and philanthropy' at the “4th World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists - Defining the Roadmap for the Next Decade” that will convene at the Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai on March 23-24, 2011
Muslim Philanthropy is at a crossroad, challenged to build new models of giving while simultaneously refining old methods embedded in vibrant Islamic tradition. The foremost challenge in the field is to promote strategic and accountable philanthropy that complements and enhances the generations-old conventional charity, which is often personal and spontaneous
The Session will examine within a common framework the failure of zakat to achieve most of its socio-economic objectives, the stagnation of waqf institutions in performing their designated social functions and the growing divergence between the aspirations of Islamic economics and the realities of the Islamic finance industry. It will also offer actionable programme plans for zakat and innovative ways of using the institution of waqf to establish social enterprises, as possible common solutions
EIGHTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ISLAMIC ECONOMICS AND FINANCE
SUSTAINABLE GROWTH AND INCLUSIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FROM AN ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE
Doha, Qatar - December 25-27, 2011
CALL FOR PAPERS
The global economy continues to face the perennial problems of poverty, persistent youth unemployment, excessive inequalities of income and wealth, high levels of inflation, large macroeconomic and budgetary imbalances, exorbitant debt-servicing burdens, inadequate and aging public utilities and infrastructure, skyrocketing energy prices, and growing food insecurity. The reoccurring regional and global financial crises further intensify and magnify these problems particularly for the underprivileged segments of the world population. As a result, many countries are at the risk of failing to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the United Nations. However, some countries also present optimistic experiences to share, and from which useful lessons can be drawn for shaping the future economic scene in other countries.
Sharia-compliant reinsurer Best Re will grow its business in Africa and eventually expand into South America to diversify its sources of income which is mainly derived from Asia.
Asia, specifically countries such as China, Indonesia and Malaysia, accounts for three-quarters of Best Re's income and the company wants to bring this share to about 60 percent within five years.
A U.S. court decision to dismiss a case alleging that AIG’s (AIG.N) sharia-compliant businesses promoted religious doctrine looks likely to boost confidence in the industry and lift sales of Islamic products in the longer term.
Lawyers say the case is significant for the industry in the United States, which has struggled with a backlash against Islam, and is looking for support from the courts and government to promote Islamic finance as a legitimate business.
The Palestinian central bank is attracting local banks to its first sale of Islamic bills.
Palestine Islamic Bank will submit a bid for as much as $10 million, and Arab Islamic Bank said it probably will participate.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is seeking to expand Islamic finance to reduce reliance on aid from the U.S., Europe, Saudi Arabia and others as the territory starts building institutions for a future state.
In Chicago's South Asian community there are three people who defrauded hundreds of Muslim investors out of $30 million.
One of the suspects is a taxi driver turned businessman. His name is Salman Ibrahim and he is thought to be abroad, possibly in his native Pakistan.
One alleged victim, Fazal Mahmood, said he lost more than $200,000 . Part of that money was for putting his two daughters through college.
The other two men indicted were Mohammad Akbar Zahid, 59, who investigators believe also fled the U.S., and Amjed Mahmood, 47, of Des Plains, a Chicago suburb.
Ibrahim and Zahid face bank fraud and other charges, while Amjed Mahmood is charged with conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud. Each fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
Many times I read, and on all conferences we debate on the issue of form over substance - is their a simple solution?
Form over substance means that contemporary Islamic finance takes more emphasize on the form of the contracts (in their Arabic terminology like Murabaha, Musharaka etc.) as in their substance, especially their economic substance, which often looks the same after conducting a sequence of Arabic named contracts.
Scholars have to judge the appearance of the form, meaning the contracts in front of them. A judge shall not guess the intentions of the contractual parties but typically has to rely on the text itself to come a decision. Different schools of Islamic law have different degrees on reliance on the form and considering or rejecting to assume 'intentions' . The hesitance to guess about 'intentions' is based on the fear to commit injustice to the parties and a procedural cause to get evidence about them.
Islamic finance practitioner Michael J.T. McMillen has partnered with the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA) to teach his celebrated course Islamic Finance on November 23, 2010.
In the course, students will compare and contrast the components of an Islamic financial institution’s balance sheet and income statement to those of a non-Islamic financial institution; identify risks particular to Islamic financial institutions and gauge whether foreign demand for Islamic bonds will rise; and leave with the information they need to include Islamic products in their portfolio.
Caroline M. Owen, CFA, attended the course before and was very impressed.
The course will be held on November 23, 2010 from 1:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m. at 1540 Broadway, Suite 1010, New York, NY 10036.
Australia plans to change laws to ensure Islamic finance products are taxed fairly as the government seeks to attract investors from the Middle East and Asia, paving the way for sukuk sales.
The national taxation board will hold talks next month in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne on how to best ensure that Islamic finance transactions are treated the same as equivalent non-Islamic deals. The board noted this month that mortgages that comply with religious principles may lead to stamp duty being paid twice, as the financier buys the property and then sells it to his client. Under a conventional mortgage there is only one sale that attracts the duty.
Australia is looking to join countries from Egypt to South Korea in seeking to ease barriers to Shariah- compliant products and tap the industry’s $1 trillion in assets, which the Kuala Lumpur-based Islamic Financial Services Board predicts will reach $1.6 trillion by 2012.
After five years of searching for a mortgage in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, 28-year-old Abdulaziz Al Salem has some advice for his peers: Forget it.
Frustrated young Saudis like Al Salem could spark a lending market that Capitas Group International estimates at $32 billion a year for the next decade if the kingdom passes a mortgage law that’s been a decade in the making.
The proposed law is part of a planned overhaul of the kingdom’s home finance market, regulating all parts of the industry: from registering mortgages to allowing judges to prosecute police officers who refuse to carry out eviction orders. The changes are aimed at easing the concerns of lenders discouraged by unclear regulation that could lead to lengthy court disputes.
Saudi authorities began drafting the new property laws about a decade ago. Provisions about evictions and home foreclosures led to disagreements between the government and the Shura Council, delaying its passage for years.
From Australia to Britain and even France, which recently banned the face-veil, Western economies are adjusting their laws to encourage growth in the Islamic finance sector they hope will attract wealthy Gulf investors.
Enthusiasm in the US has been tempered by politics, however, which could slow the growth of Islamic finance and push business from the oil exporting Gulf elsewhere. Islamic finance has faced scrutiny in the US, with critics suggesting the $1tn industry was a front to funnel funds to terrorists or a plot by Muslims to spread Shariah principles, which include a ban on interest.
The US Federal Reserve has launched an Islamic finance study group and is seeking consultants within the Islamic finance industry.
The US Treasury has launched the Islamic Finance 101 programme to teach government agencies about Shariah-compliant business.
The programme is run with Harvard’s Islamic Finance Project, which was created in 1995 to study Islamic finance from a legal perspective and foster collaboration among scholars inside and outside the Muslim world.
But these initiatives have also been politicised.
The growing demand for securities that meet Islamic religious principles may lead Canadian governments and companies to start issuing Shariah bonds.
HSBC Bank Canada may offer $500 million and three government-related borrowers from one Canadian province may issue $1.5 billion of sukuk, Omar Kalair, chief executive officer of Toronto-based UM Financial, said in an Oct. 14 interview. A “handful” of Canadian companies may sell C$1 billion ($980 million) of Islamic debt by 2013, said Daud Vicary Abdullah, global Islamic finance leader at Deloitte Corporate Advisory Services Sdn. in Kuala Lumpur.
Egypt, Nigeria, the Philippines and Thailand have announced plans to sell their first sukuk in the past three months, partly to tap Persian Gulf oil wealth.
Although efforts have been made over the past twenty years to bring Islamic banking into India — a country that has more Muslims than Pakistan — as yet the Reserve Bank of India and its master, the Union Finance Ministry, has not given permission for the same. The reason is simple. Across the financial establishment in India, the influence of US and EU financial interests is overpowering.
Several senior civil servants have their close relatives working in such institutions, and therefore accept the advice given by them. Certainly, banks in foreign countries will not want the Indian government to clear the way for the establishment of Islamic banking centres, for that may result in funds flowing from Zurich, London, Frankfurt and New York (all major “Islamic” banking locations) to Mumbai or Kochi. Acting on cue, the monetary and finance authorities in India have continued to block access to Islamic banking avenues, thereby denying millions of observant Muslims in India a chance to keep their assets in safety.
The Islamic Financial Services Board today facilitated the signing of the Memorandum of Participation for the establishment of the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM). The primary objective of the IILM is to issue Shari`ah-compliant financial instruments in order to facilitate more efficient and effective liquidity management solutions for institutions offering Islamic financial services (IIFS), as well as to facilitate greater investment flows of Shari`ah-compliant instruments across borders.
This initiative is in line with the IFSB mandates (as stated in its Articles of Agreement) to: a) enhance and coordinate initiatives to develop instruments and procedures for the efficient operations and risk management; and b) encourage cooperation amongst member countries in developing the Islamic financial services industry.
Leading banks in the Kingdom of Bahrain will come to Washington D.C. on the 8th of October 2010 when the Bahrain Association of Banks (BAB) hosts an important reception at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
The reception is in honour of Bahrain's delegation to the IMF/World Bank meetings. The delegation will be led by H.E. Shaikh Ahmed B?n Mohammed Al-Khalifa, the Minister of Finance, H.E. Mr Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, the Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain and Mr Abdulkarim Bucheery, CEO of BBK and BAB's Chairman.
The financial community of the Kingdom of Bahrain has shown the depth of its support for the event through sponsorship, which includes Ahli United Bank, BBK Bank Muscat International, Gulf International Bank, Investcorp, Kuwait Finance House, National Bank of Bahrain and United Gulf Bank, together with the Economic Development Board of Bahrain.