The US-Qatar Business Council and the US-Arab Chamber of Commerce recently hosted the second Annual Islamic Finance Forum in Washington, providing participants with insights into the burgeoning use of Islamic financing and Shariah-compliant business contacts in the US.
“At this year’s forum, practitioners as well as theoreticians helped demystify the complexities of Islamic finance,” said USQBC president, executive director and ambassador Patrick N Theros. “We saw a greater emphasis on the application by investors of the principles of Islamic finance and addressed the lack of facts and context in most conversations in the US on this issue.”
The forum, held at the George Washington University Law School in Washington DC, featured academic, legal, banking and business experts analysing how Islamic financing works in the US and domestic economic development could be pursed using Islamic financing.
Panelists also discussed the growing trend among US state legislatures to attempt banning the recognition or practice of Islamic financing and Shariah, actions that threaten to derail the growth of Islamic financing opportunities in the US, blocking US access to billions of dollars in Shariah-compliant investments from Middle Eastern countries.
The forum did invite proponents, of initiatives to ban Shariah, to speak, but none were willing to participate.
“This year’s forum demonstrated that Islamic finance is not antithetical to the American way of conducting life or business,” said Theros. “Instead it is an inventive approach to financing business transactions that will open up the US market to greater foreign investment. Islamic financing, once properly understood and leveraged, will not only strengthen economic ties between the US and the Middle East, but will prove beneficial to American companies willing to explore alternative financial arrangements.”
The forum was supported by Qatar’s Embassy in Washington, Qatar Airways, University Islamic Financial, Qatar Islamic Bank, The Boeing Company, Guidance Residential and Brown Lloyd James.
source: Gulf Times