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GCC Islamic investment firms have USD 235 bln in assets

KUWAIT, Nov 3 (KUNA) -- The global financial crisis has not hit Islamic finance industry thanks to its sound and strong systems as Gulf Islamic investment firms still have USD 235 billion's worth of combined assets, Islamic financial leaders said here Tuesday.
Speaking at the two-day 3rd Fiqh Conference for Islamic Finance Institutions, which kick-started here earlier in the day, they stressed the significance of carrying on the sound strategies of Islamic investment firms which they said are now highly reputed in European countries and the US.
The sponsor of the conference, Ahmad Bezea al-Yassin, called on such institutions to fend off the negative impacts of global financial crises by sticking to Islamic Sharia' and by being so cautious and vigilant.
Sheikh Ojail al-Neshmi, chairman of the organizing committee, emphasized that Islamic rules for business and investment should be strictly observed.
"The observance of the Islamic approach has hedged (Islamic) institutions from bankruptcy as the grinding crisis has thrown many companies into the circle of bankruptcy," he addressed the gathering.
For his part, Al Imtiaz Investment Managing Director Ali al-Zebeid said Islamic finance industry had witnessed bright successes over recent years, with Islamic investment firms' assets hitting USD 235 billion.
In a recent report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated the volume of Islamic finance industry worldwide at roughly USD 850 billion, he said.
He urged Islamic finance institutions to learn from the lessons of the global financial crisis by paying more heed to products that constitute genuine economy, applying world transparency and professionalism criteria and honoring corporate governance rules. (end) mka.ysa.mt KUNA 031841 Nov 09NNNN