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16 I ORLD NEWSW Passion Islam I October 2008
German government condemns
Islamophobic confab in Cologne
The German government condemned an church and anti-racism groups, were due
international Islamophobic conference in to join the protests and mass blockades.
the western city of Cologne. Addressing Initial media reports pointed to a tense
a press briefing, a spokeswoman for the situation near the conference site, as
German Interior Ministry “condemned all counter-demonstrators were hoping to
extremist actions” related to the so-called disrupt the anti-Islam meeting. Efforts
‘Anti-Islamization Congress’, hosted by to ban the event failed because of legal
the far-right group ‘Pro Koeln’. reasons, according to Cologne Police
Gabriele Hermani stressed the far- President Klaus Steffenhagen.
right confab would negatively impact on Under surveillance by Germany’s
efforts to promote peaceful co-existence domestic Verfassungsschutz intelligence
construction of a central mosque for
between the German state and its Muslims agency,`Pro Koeln` has invited around
Cologne’s nearly 150,000-strong Muslim
citizens. Tens of thousands of people 1,000 right-wing extremists to the disputed
community. `Pro Cologne’ has five seats in
were expected to take to the streets of meeting in Cologne, among them leading
Cologne’s 90-member city council. There
Cologne to protest against the three-day far-right politicians from the US, France,
are 3.5 million Muslims living in Germany
Islamophobic meeting. Austria, Belgium, Britain, Spain and Italy.
of which 2.5 million are Turks
A wide spectrum of nationwide civic A major focus of ‘Pro Koeln’ has been
groups, among them labor, student, its controversial opposition to the planned
Islamic commerce course
excites Indians in Australia
The first ever masters degree in Islamic report, in the next five to 10 years, Islamic Bank, Kuwait Finance House, HSBC
commerce to be offered at an Australian finance will require an estimated 50,000 and Muslim Community Cooperative of
university has some overseas Indian employees to run the industry. Australia (MCCA) - active in the field.
students excited about future prospects The Islamic banking and finance Bhatti says the masters programme
in this fast-growing segment of global market is growing at an annual rate of 15 will appeal to international students from
finance. to 20 percent and there are more than the subcontinent and other countries in
‘I am very excited that La Trobe 260 Islamic financial institutions operating Asia wanting Islamic financial training in
University will be offering a course in worldwide. English.
Islamic banking and finance (IBF). By The industry is likely to capture the ‘In Iran and Saudi Arabia, more than 95
learning about Islamic commercial laws, savings of 1.6 billion Muslims around the percent of all retail banking transaction is
I can help the people of my community world, a figure that is estimated to grow to done through Islamic banking institutions.
in their development,’ Mohammed 2.5 billion within the next decade. It is expected that Islamic finance will be
Rizwanuddin, who is originally from ‘Such immense growth has brought the mainstream finance in the rest of the
Hyderabad, told IANS. Islamic finance to the attention of Gulf region in a couple of decades,’ Bhatti
He is nearing completion of a two-year the international banking community, says.
masters in professional accounting at the prompting major banks to set up Islamic ‘In Pakistan, Islamic finance is
university. financial windows to take advantage of the booming; in Bangladesh, microfinance is
The Islamic commerce course will demand for Shariah compliant finance,’ moving on Shariah compliance. According
commence in February 2009 and will cost Ishaq Bhatti, associate professor in the to The Banker’s November 2007 issue, in
Australian $17,000 per annum for the department of economics and finance and Malaysia, Islamic institutions are expected
one or two years required to complete it, co-founder of the course, told IANS. to capture 25 percent of the market share
depending on prior study and experience. The master’s course is aimed of assets owned by 2010,’ adds Bhatti.
The eight subjects include legal and at meeting the demand for trained Hayat Khan, a lecturer and co-
Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic commercial professionals in Islamic banking and founder of the course at La Trobe, said:
law, Islamic banking, Islamic insurance finance sectors. ‘The new course is designed to meet
and Islamic financial markets and general ‘Islamic banking is a community a very real need. The course merges
areas of finance. activity based on equity and security Western and Islamic finance with modern
‘As the concept of ‘interest’ is between lender and borrower. It seeks techniques. Islamic banks will account for
considered ‘haram’ (prohibited) in Islam, to encourage distribution of wealth. 40 to 50 percent of total savings of Muslim
there are many Muslims who need financial Profit and loss is shared by stakeholders populations worldwide in 8-10 years.’
support for their progress. I feel that on a proportional basis and there is no In 2007, India was the second largest
Islamic commercial law can overcome this unnecessary exposure to risk and no source of overseas students with 63,604
problem,’ said Rizwanuddin, who would ambiguity in the contract,’ explains Bhatti, students enrolled in Australian educational
like to return to India and help the Muslim emphasising that ‘maximising profit is not institutions. Of the top 10 source countries,
community despite good job prospects in the major objective of this system’. the strongest growth since 2006 was from
Australia and the Middle East. It is a growing sector in Australia with India at 63.9 percent.
According to The Banker global several local banks - National Australia
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