Tuesday, November 11, 2008

ISRA ties up with research outfits

[This article appeared on the day ISRA was officially launched at Kuala Lumpur on Nov 11, 2008]
By Habhajan Singh CENTRAL bank-backed International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) has begun forging key alliances with a number of global Islamic finance research outfits, including United Kingdom's Islamic Finance Council and Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI).
The locally set-up academy, led by its executive director Dr Mohamad Akram Laldin, have also been actively pursuing strategic tie-ups with local Islamic finance related institutions and corporations. On its discussion with IRTI, ISRA officials says it is to forge a collaboration to co-organize the International Shariah Scholars Dialogue in December 2008.
IRTI was established in 1981 under the auspices of Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to undertake research and provide training and information services in the member countries of the IDB and Muslim communities in non-Muslim countries to help them to bring their economic, financial and banking services into conformity with Shariah. The inaugural Shariah Scholars Dialogue was held in June 2005 when the central bank initiative brought together prominent scholars to engage in a dialogue.
"This is one of the central bank's commitment to continuously provide an enabling platform for the Shariah community. ISRA has been entrusted the task of managing it. "Instead of coming out with its own fatwas, ISRA will lean towards coming out with research work that will assist the Islamic finance fraternity, which is still tiny compared to their conventional counterparts," said an Islamic finance scholar. This fits in well with an earlier interview that Mohamad Akram gave to The Malaysian Reserve that ISRA will not become a standard-setting body.
Instead, the research outfit funded and backed by an endowment from the country's central bank will conduct research concerning issues in the fast-growing field of Islamic finance and support existing local and international standard-setting bodies. "If we have too many standard setting bodies, it may create confusion," he said in one of his first interviews following the announcement of ISRA's setting up in March.
Towards end-October, ISRA representatives met representatives from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) in London on a possible collaboration with Islamic Finance Council of UK for the IFC Scholar Professional Development Programme. It has also held discussions with Prof Datuk Dr Sano Kautoub, deputy chairman of Majma Fiqh on possible cooperation with the Fiqh Academy of the Organisation of The Islamic Conference (OIC).
The Jeddah-based Islamic Fiqh Academy, created by the Third Islamic Summit Conference held in Makkah in 1981, comprises selected experts from among the best scholars and thinkers available in the Islamic world and Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries, in various fields of knowledge, including Islamic fiqh, science, medicine, economy and culture.
On March 26, in a forward looking step to fortify the country's lead position in Islamic finance, the central bank announced the establishment of the ISRA to spearhead research in Shariah issues. Its establishment marked yet another proactive measure from the central bank in the sector.
In the BNM statement then, BNM said the ISRA will be part of the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF), which would enable it to leverage on the university's existing infrastructure and facilities as well as tap into the knowledge, expertise and resources of the academic faculty and post graduate students. (By Habhajan Singh, The Malaysian Reserve, Nov 11, 2008, Page 4. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur)

1 comment:

oliviaharis said...

Dr Aziz brought with him a wealth of academic and research experience from Pakistan , UAE and UK , before joining DI as a Research Analyst. Based in London office, Dr Aziz is responsible for developing cutting edge Shariah solutions for the institutions offering Islamic financial products and looks after the in-house product development team. With excellent quantitative skills and experience of using econometric tools for data analysis, he also manages DI Global Islamic Finance Reports.