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Islamic finance remarkable growth

January 22, 2014 (Mord Hardfisherman)

Islamic finance is growing at a phenomenal rate worldwide, not only in the Muslim world, but even in the west which has a thriving Islamic finance industry according to Muhammed Ikram Thowfeek, founder and managing director of First Global Academy . He was speaking at the Academy's 2013 Awards Presentation under the theme 'Translating intention to action'. Thowfeek, an Islamic banker with experience in setting up Islamic banks and Islamic financial institutions from scratch, said that his academy wanted to build a new breed of professional Islamic bankers and Islamic finance specialists to cater to the industry where there still exists a dearth of professionals. Thowfeek highlighted the fact that London wanted to be the Islamic financial hub of the world. It currently has five Islamic banks to cater to a population of 2 million Muslims. The reason it wants to be the Islamic finance hub with a minority Muslim population is not to convert the country into an Islamic state but to tap into Middle Eastern funds to fund its much needed infrastructure and revenue generating projects through Islamic finance, he pointed out. He drew parallels between Sri Lanka's desire for foreign investment and London's initiatives and observed that the potential for Sri Lanka to be the Islamic finance hub of the region is immense. Such a development could help the country tap into Middle Eastern funds through Islamic finance propositions so that the entire country could benefit, and not just a single community. "It's a great opportunity to be an integral part of this growing industry which is patronized by both Muslims and non-Muslims. Islamic Finance, after all is not confined to Muslims only, but is meant for all mankind irrespective of what colour, religion or ethnic group they belong to" he said. Among those awarded with special mention were Farook Fazlullah , an FGA student who obtained 95 per cent in the Islamic Finance Qualification (IFQ) examination in 2013, thus achieving the distinction of being the second highest marks holder in the world in this international qualification. Mohamed Afkar, a visually impaired graduate teacher was awarded a special award for his commitment to Islamic Banking and Finance. FGA provided Afkar with the voice version of the presentation along with the soft copies of the learning materials. At the event The Council for Islamic Finance Professionals (CIFP), the student council of FGA launched its website followed by a briefing by the founder president of the CIFP Hussam Hameed. It was launched by Thowfeek. First Global Academy has to date trained more than 2000 students and professionals locally and globally in the field of Islamic banking and finance. Being the pioneer provider of training and career development programs in the field of Islamic banking, finance and Takaful , it has introduced some highly recognized study courses in Islamic banking and finance including its well-known Islamic Finance Qualification (IFQ) which is awarded with Diploma and Executive Diploma in Islamic Banking & Finance under the brand of iBanker (Islamic banker). FGA is the only educational institution which has been recognized as "Education First" in the first ever Islamic Finance country report 2011 by KPMG Sri Lanka. It was also recognized in the Global Islamic Finance Forum GIFF 2012 Country and Business Guide, as a 'Talent Development' institution for the Islamic finance industry in Sri Lanka. FGA has been accredited by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investments (CISI) UK , City & Guilds UK and the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA).

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Source: Islamic Globe, The (UAE)

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