Non-Muslims are increasingly showing an interest in Islamic education and financial products, according to panellists at the first-ever Sibos session dedicated to Islamic finance.
Daud Vicary Abdullah, president and chief executive of the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance, which offers post-graduate education in Islamic finance, said at the Sibos panel yesterday that more than a third of students to the university were non-Muslims and he expected this to increase.
The Islamic finance industry has had a compound annual growth rate of 19% from 2006 to 2010 and there are more than 10,000 publicly traded sharia-compliant companies in over 40 countries.
While more than 90% of sharia assets are in the Middle East and Malaysia, there is an increasing demand for Islamic finance instruments to be applied to trade more broadly.
Afaq Khan, chief executive of Islamic banking at Standard Chartered Saadiq, said trade is the backbone of the global economy and as growth and trade shift east, non-Muslim countries have to better understand the preferences of Muslim countries. He added: “We are also seeing a greater desire for sovereign wealth funds to invest in an Islamic manner beyond their borders.”