The bloody crackdown on protesters in Libya has prompted about 50 Libyan Muslim religious leaders to issue an appeal to the security forces as Muslims to stop the killing or face the wrath of God.
Two of the Gulf’s top Islamic finance scholars spoke out against efforts to reduce the number of boards they and their peers are allowed to sit on, challenging industry attempts to improve corporate governance. Bankers in the emerging $1 trillion Islamic finance industry say the concentration of hundreds of board positions in the hands of a few sharia scholars leads to conflicts of interest and hampers appropriate supervision.
Bankers in Islamic finance are increasingly outsourcing sharia supervision due to a lack of scholars in the industry, but critics say this is making the sector even less transparent and slowing its development.
(Photo: Islamic Financial Centre booth at Malaysia’s Central Bank – High Level Conference 2009 in Kuala Lumpur February 10, 2009/Zainal Abd Halim)
When Malaysian Aida Othman signed up for the new law programme at the International Islamic University in Kuala Lumpur, she did not expect to become one the few women with their hands on the levers of the world’s $1 trillion Islamic finance sector.
(Photo: Sections of the Dead Sea scrolls at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, May 14, 2008/Baz Ratner)
Scholars and anyone with an Internet connection will be able to take a new look into the Biblical past through an online archive of high-resolution images of the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls.
Islamic finance is toughening supervision of its powerful religious advisers as shareholders worldwide demand increasing accountability from directors, but key reforms may do little to boost independence and transparency.
Saudi King Abdullah has ordered that public religious edicts, or public fatwas, be issued only by clerics he appoints, in the boldest measure the ageing monarch has taken to organise the religious field.
With Islamic finance a $1 trillion industry globally and expected by ratings agency Moody’s to reach $5 trillion in time, students of sharia have more opportunities than ever before to take their skills beyond the mosque doors and into the boardroom.