Lord Stephen Green, the former UK Government Minister for Trade and Investment, and Iqbal Khan, Founding Board Member and CEO of Fajr Capital, were some of the high-profile speakers during the 2014 Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies (OCIS) and Fajr Capital Seminar Series on Islamic finance and social responsibility in financial services.
The five-part seminar series commenced with Iqbal Khan’s overview of “the history, evolution and growth of Islamic finance”, where the 2012 Royal Award for Islamic Finance winner narrated the notable achievements of industry pioneers such as: Sheikh Saleh Kamel, Tan Sri Dato‘ Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al-Madani and Lord Eddie George.
Following a detailed introduction to Islamic finance’s concepts and structures by academic Iqbal Asaria, the Seminar Series continued with Ann Pettifor, Director of PRIME, who discussed how Keynesian monetary theory and policy could embed a Quranic model of finance.
The importance of the values underpinning Islamic finance was the theme for the fourth lecture, during which Lord Stephen Green stated: “Islamic Finance at it’s best is a carefully developed framework of rules whose core principle is to ensure a human relationship of shared commitment and respect in any economic transaction”. He added: “I would argue this [Islamic Finance] is, and potentially can be even more significantly, a real beacon of enlightenment… It’s a real challenge to what you might call the market fundamentalism that has prevailed in the twenty years up to 2007. It’s the voice of conscious as far as Christians are concerned, who are involved in the markets, but have forgotten what Calvin said, or ceased to apply it in any meaningful way”.
The Seminar Series concluded with Dr Alberto Brugnoni’s future outlook of the opportunities and challenges facing the Islamic finance industry.