By Nawab Khan
BRUSSELS, May 28 (KUNA) -- A noted Islamic banking and finance expert is
warning that unless selfishness, short sightedness and greed are not removed
from the global economic system the current financial crisis will get worse.
"Todays financial and economic crisis is rooted in the moral bankruptcy
before financial bankruptcy," Mufti Abdul Qadir Barkatulla, London-based
Islamic finance advisor, told the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), in an interview
"Simple moral values of social concern and acting morally and
responsibility towards individuals and social institutions have been
undermined by the hyperactivity in the stock market and the banking sector,"
Barkatulla studied Sharia in the famous Islamic university in Deoband, in
his native country India, and later studied economics in the UK where he is
now based and advises banks and financial institutions.
He was in Belgium to participate in a conference on 'Islamic and Ethical
Banking and Finance' at the university of Leuven.
Islamic financial values and Islamic economics are always a moral economy.
We hear now after everybody is in crisis, all secular people and others are
crying for moral economy, he noted.
"Islamic economy has always been driven by morals, by individual sense of
responsibility, responsibility towards the society, balancing greed,
transparency and lack of speculation.
So all these things which are prohibited in Islam they are the real causes
of chaos and systematic failure," said Mufti Barkatulla.
He said that there is a possibility of alliance and cooperation with the
ethical movement in Europe with the Islamic finance movement in the UK and
other European countries.
Islamic banking is thriving in Muslim countries but in Europe because the
word Islamic and Sharia has negative connotations it puts many people off, he
The conclusions of the Leuven conference was that although there is a
strong movement in Europe towards moral economy which promotes responsible
corporate policy but the name of Sharia is not liked here.
"If Islamic values and Islamic financial morality is re-branded in normal
human values without strong connotation of Islamic name it will gain momentum
among non-Muslims," suggested the Islamic finance expert.
He cited the examples in Malaysia and the UK where many non-Muslims are
attracted because of simplicity, fairness and transparency of the Islamic
He said some Muslim countries have huge sovereign funds which are in a
position to advance the moral agenda.
But till today they have been following the same principles as the Western
banking system, looking for highest returns, quick profits rather than
directing the market towards the long term development and goodness of the
society, said Barkatulla.
He predicted that the present economic crisis could last another two years,
but warned that "if greed, selfishness, short sightedness, if these things are
not eradicated from the markets the crisis will deepen." (end)
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