Dr Ghulam Ashraf's Blog

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White House Welcomes Shariah Finance Specialist

President Obama has announced his appointment of Shariah Finance Specialist Samar Ali to serve as one of the 13 fellows of the White House. Ms Samar Ali is an attorney who specialises on Islamic Shariah compliant finance and regularly advises clients on Islamic transactions and was founding member of first U.S delegation to the World Islamic Economic Forum.

Michelle Obama said in a statement that, ““This year’s White House fellows are comprised of some of the best and brightest leaders in our country.I applaud their unyielding commitment to public service and dedication to serving their community.”

According to Ali’s biography posted on the White House website, “She is responsible for counseling clients on mergers & acquisitions, cross-border transactions, Shariah compliant transactions, project finance, and international business matters. The appointment of Ms Ali is a step in religious tolerance and accepting and diversifiying knowledge of the Islamic financial industry which is set to reach over $1.5 tillion US dollars by 2012.

Samar Ali has worked in Abu Dhabi at Hoven Lovells and some of her tasks involved advising a Middle Eastern university in the potential establishment of a Foreign Aid Conventional and Shariah Compliant Student Loan Program and advising a Middle Eastern client in relation to a U.S. government subcontract matter.

The company of Hovan Lovells said in a statement that,”Our team members are at the forefront of developments in the Islamic finance industry,We help set standards for the sector. We have also advised on numerous first-of their-kind transactions, such as the first convertible Sukuk, the first equity-linked Sukuk, the first Shariah compliant securitization, the first international Sukuk al-mudaraba and Sukuk al-musharaka, the first Sukuk buy-back, and the first Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) guaranteed Islamic project financing.”

President of Indonesia, H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in a statement that, “Islamic banking should now be able to take a leadership position in the banking world,” he said. “Islamic banks have been much less affected by the financial meltdown than the conventional banks – for the obvious reason that Shariah banks do not indulge in investing in toxic assets and in leveraged funds. They are geared to supporting the real economy.Islamic bankers should therefore do some missionary work in the Western world to promote the concept of Shariah banking, for which many in the West are more than ready now.

The acceptance of a Muslim Shariah finance expert can further diversify the industry and arouse interest from international markets and key financial players such as the USA who may see the benefits and ethical methods of the Islamix finance and banking industry. If interest free methods are adopted in mainstream countries there may be less curroption from debt in the commercial finance industry.

Shariah is already developing in the USA with a lawsuit that enlists the acceptance of Shariah compliant businesses accommodating the Shariah for the needs of Muslims and non muslims who want to follow Shariah compliant ways of banking.

Source: GIF Magazine (http://www.globalislamicfinancemagazine.com/index.php?com=articles_list&aid=842)

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