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Whether you are an academic or practionner: If you wish to see your paper published on IslamicFinance.de please send us the relevant document along with a confirmation that you hold the copyrights of it and we can upload the work with your abstract provided.

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Michael Saleh Gassner

Lack of awareness behind low demand for Sharia-compliant mortgages

Specialist Sharia Islamic mortgages are available with certain lenders but take-up is currently low. According to Lilla Dilliway, mortgage and protection adviser at BlueWing Financials, the low demand is because applicable borrowers are unaware that a Sharia-compliant mortgage is a possibility, especially in the UK. When compared, a Sharia mortgage’s part rent, part capital repayment aspect means that borrowers may find it difficult to meet the affordability criteria and/or have eligibility issues based on their credit history. Sharia-compliant mortgages are often also more expensive due to the higher administration costs of the lender. Dilliway suggests that if Sharia-compliant mortgages were advertised and promoted in the same way as mainstream mortgages, an increase in take-up might be seen.

Interest-Free Banking in #Sweden: How much is it Islamic? – Dr. Akmal S. Hyder

This study goes into the depth of a European bank which entirely practices interest-free banking for its saving and lending operations. The study shows that there are some similarities between JAK and Islamic banks but differences are many. One difference lies in the service offerings as JAK only deal with savings and lending and does not get involved in profit-loss sharing which is central to Islamic banking. Islamic banks can learn from JAK how to educate their customers so that business gets clear to them. By comparing with Islamic banking, the European bank management can have the idea how far they do Islamic banking and what is unique with their bank. The European bank management has to deal with new challenges how much they can grow of being a non-profit organization in the long run.

One of Germany’s senior Muslim diplomats, Murad Hoffman, returns to his Lord

The well-known scholar and diplomat, Murad Hoffman, has passed to meet his Lord. May Allah have mercy upon him. Murad Hofmann was born a Catholic in 1931 in Aschaffenburg, Germany. He later studied at the University of Munich and Harvard University. Hofmann converted to Islam in 1980 as a result of witnessing the Algerian War of Independence, in addition to his admiration of Islamic art. His reversion was met with political resistance due to his high profile in the German government. Hofmann served as a diplomat for Germany for 33 years, beginning in 1961. He served as ambassador to Algeria and Morocco from 1987 to 1994, and was director of information for NATO.

Islamic finance gains ground in #UK despite confusion about offerings

According to the 2019 Islamic Finance Consumer Report from Gatehouse Bank, several new faith-based lending or savings accounts have been launched in the UK, but only 54% of Muslim consumers have tried any of them. Gatehouse Bank CEO Charles Haresnape sees that most people don’t really understand Islamic finance, even Muslims don’t understand it. He said that Gatehouse is intent on developing the Islamic finance sector in Britain. Haresnape predicts growth for the UK Islamic finance market, driven by the country’s expanding young Muslim population, but said awareness and education would be key factors in driving uptake.

Islamic finance gains ground in UK despite confusion about offerings

The UK Islamic finance sector holds an estimated £15 billion ($19 billion) of assets, the largest outside the Middle East and Asia. The Gatehouse Bank is intent on developing the Islamic finance sector in Britain.

À la recon­quête de la finance islamique

Présentée comme un nouveau pilier de la place financière il y a quelques années, la finance islamique était en veilleuse. L’organisation du deuxième Sukuk Summit au Luxembourg le 11 novembre dernier l’a remise en lumière. Bandar Hajjar, président de la Banque islamique de dévelop­pement a annoncé que son institution allait installer une «présence légale» au Grand-Duché pour développer les sukuk en Europe. Aujourd’hui, le Grand-Duché est le cinquième pays pour la domiciliation de fonds d’investissement conformes à la charia.

19 Artworks From Abraaj Group To Be Auctioned This Evening At Third Christie's Middle Eastern Art Sale

The third Christie’s Middle Eastern Modern & Contemporary Art sale will take place this evening as part of Islamic Art Week in London. Approximately 90 Middle Eastern art works have been sourced from around the world – from New York, London and Paris to Beirut and Dubai. With a special focus on contemporary Iranian and Arab works, the sale sheds light on artists from around the region including Syrian artist Louay Kayyali, Iranian artist Manoucher Yektai and Lebanense artist Bibi Zogbé. Five works by Palestinian artist Ismail Shammout are also on offer. Further nineteen artworks worth $1.94 million (Dhs 7,125,329), that were once owned by private equity firm The Abraaj Group, are also being auctioned at Christie's. Other featured artists include late Syrian modernist Fateh Moudarres and French artist Kader Attia.

Debate sparked between MEPs and philanthropists on Idea of single market philanthropy

Members of European Parliament, representatives of the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee discussed creating a European space for donors and fostering cross-border giving. The debate was entitled 'Single Market for Philanthropy – Helping unlock the potential for public good across Europe' and saw the emergence of a cross-party alliance between Greens, Renew, EPP and S&D. To create a European space for donors, MEPs Sven Giegold and Sergey Lagodinsky discussed a potential proposal for a 29th regime of a 'European public benefit statute'. Regulatory tax barriers, affecting cross-border philanthropy within the EU, currently undermine this. The Romanian Council Presidency issued an EESC opinion on Philanthropy, calling on the EU to promote organised philanthropy, and asking for elimination of barriers within the internal market.

Inspired by the East review: British Museum looks at how Islamic world influenced western art

Over the past 15 years the British Museum has played a valuable educative role in Middle Eastern culture. It has shown us the legendary Babylon, introduced us to Persia’s great potentate, Shah Abbas, opened up the imperial court of Ashurbanipal, travelled to Afghanistan, the crossroads of ancient culture, and acted as tour guide on the Hajj. A splendid new suite of permanent galleries has also been opened to show off a world-class collection of Islamic treasures and explore their wider significance.

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “Analysis of the Strategy of #Microfinance for Financial Inclusion of Refugees,” published by the European Microfinance Network

Turkey is host to an estimated 4 million refugees, more than are living in any other country. This paper assesses “the feasibility of microfinance as an appropriate strategy for the financial inclusion of refugees in Turkey.” The authors identify some of the risks of lending to refugee populations and steps that can be taken to mitigate them. Borrowed funds may be used for unapproved purposes such as to repay other debts. This may be mitigated by visiting the borrower’s place of work to assess how the credit is to be used. Excluding local residents from lending programs can create resentment. This may be mitigated by issuing loans to groups whose members span both the local and refugee populations. Refugees may move away, making recovery of loan repayments more challenging. This can be mitigated by assessing a loan applicant’s level of integration into the local community.

Islamic fintech pioneers test creative ways to engage consumers

Many Muslims’ reliance on community offers opportunities including halal robo-advice.

4 types of data necessary for outcome-based financing

The U.N. General Assembly is underway this week, and the global development community has descended upon New York en masse. Impact bonds are just one example of outcome-based financing, where private investors provide upfront capital, repaid conditional on the achievement of pre-determined metrics. Although evidence is sparse on the relative merits of this mechanism, millions of dollars are being invested in their design and implementation.

The Musée du Louvre, Paris, opens new and expanded spaces for exploring Islamic Arts supported by Alwaleed Philanthropies

The Musée du Louvre officially opened new and expanded spaces to explore Islamic art with the support of Alwaleed Philanthropies. The new exhibition space offers visitors an immersive introduction to Islamic art. The center showcases a diverse range of art and artifacts stretching from Spain to India and explains the evolution of Islamic art in style, form and medium. Louvre President Jean Luc-Martinez hopes to reach even more visitors, and provide them the keys to understanding the wonderful artistic heritage. The new and expanded spaces for exploring Islamic art has been designed to offer full disability access and includes a series of interactive displays.

Jibrel to launch first globally regulated blockchain-powered private financing platform

Switzerland-based fintech company Jibrel Network announced the launch of Jibrel.com after its recent acceptance into the new ADGM (Abu Dhabi Global Market) RegLab cohort in the UAE. Jibrel.com claims to be the first fully regulated blockchain-powered private financing platform. Jibrel’s purpose is to foster open financial systems and digitization powered by emerging technologies. Its mission is to tokenize an array of assets in a manner that is borderless, asset class agnostic and customizable for different use cases. The new platform will enable investors of all genres to connect with startups and SMEs, creating new capital formations. Talal Tabbaa, co-founder and COO of Jibrel believes this platform will transform the MENA startup ecosystem by providing access to a broader investment base, so that startups will raise more liquidity, and spur the growth of the sector further in the region.

Chevening OCIS/ Abdullah Gül Fellowship applications are now open

The Chevening Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) Fellowships are aimed at mid-career academics or professionals who are dedicated to a more informed understanding of the culture and civilisation of Islam and contemporary Muslim societies. Chevening OCIS Fellowship and Chevening OCIS Abdullah Gül Fellowship are a collaboration between the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and OCIS. The fellowship programmes will commence in October 2020. Fellows will need to develop their own research project to focus on during their fellowship prior to arriving in the UK. The Chevening OCIS Abdullah Gül Fellowship is available to applicants from Turkey. All applications for a Chevening Award must be made through the Chevening designated online application system (OAS), which can be accessed through www.chevening.org.

ADIB UK provides Dh120m acquisition funding

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) UK has provided financing for The Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME) to acquire a Dh120 million (£26.95 million) Grade A office building in Edinburgh. The building is now leased to Centrica as their corporate headquarters in Scotland until 2035. The building has received several design awards including the Scottish Design Award for Commercial Interior and the British Council for Offices National and Regional Awards for Commercial Workplace. BLME is a UK Shari’ah compliant bank with a branch in the Dubai International Financial Centre, regulated by the DFSA. Boubyan Bank is BLME’s largest shareholder. BLME sources and co-invests in commercial real estate opportunities alongside professional investors from the Middle East.

ACCA hosts Dr Amjad, founder of Islamic micro finance

Dr Muhammad Amjad Saqib, the founder of the Islamic micro finance company, Akhuwat, met with Alan Hatfield, executive director for strategy and development at ACCA London headquarters. In Pakistan, micro finance is proving popular amongst the growing SME sector. The country’s SME development authority calculates that nearly 90% of companies are SMEs, most of them operating in the informal sector, so the demand for micro finance is also growing. Akhuwat has opened over 850 branches in 486 cities/towns across Pakistan, enabling over 3.5 Million families to become self-reliant by extending interest-free loans worth more than £400 million. Dr Saqib's latest initiative is called Akhuwat University, which will provide higher education without any tuition fee to support the upward social mobility in the country.

Reflections on legal barriers to cross-border #philanthropy in Europe

The European Union has rules implementing a single market for for-profit activities while nonprofit, philanthropic activities lack any comparable system. There is increasingly a 'closing space' for civil society organizations engaged in cross-border activities. The legal barriers to cross-border philanthropy represent complex issues in Europe, especially since they reflect the larger division over the extent of European integration and union. Addressing them therefore requires diligence, creativity, and an appreciation of the larger political context. The European organizations have all of these characteristics.
It is their efforts that have led to growing support for philanthropy, as demonstrated most recently by the European Philanthropy Manifesto and the European Economic and Social Committee’s opinion on 'European philanthropy: an untapped potential'.

#Saudi Arabia's Arbah Capital buys Glasgow's Sauchiehall building

Saudi Arabia-based Arbah Capital has acquired the Sauchiehall building in Glasgow, UK, valued at $76m (SAR285m), through a sharia'a-compliant investment structure. Arbah Capital stated that the acquisition represented a core long term investment and would help attain value at a time of uncertainty in the UK. The investment firm added that the Sauchiehall building aligned with its main strategy to focus on acquisitions of distinctive assets. The mixed-use property is a 2.87ha LG+G+6F structure, and features a multi-storey car park as well. Arbah Capital's CEO Mahmood Al Kooheji says this purchase enhances Arbah’s strategic alliances and relationships which further supports its position as an international gateway into the investment market.

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