Islamic finance icon passes away

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Riyadh

The man widely regarded as the father of contemporary Islamic finance, Saudi businessman and Chairman of the Al Baraka Banking Group in Bahrain, Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel, has passed away, aged 79. The veteran of Islamic banking played a key role in the 1989 establishment of Al Baraka Bank in South Africa. Working with one of Al Baraka Bank’s founding Directors, Adv AB Mohamed, Shaikh Kamel was hugely instrumental in helping lay the foundation for the bank’s formation in South Africa, bringing access to Islamic finance to this country for the first time. Adv Mohamed, who retired as a Director of Al Baraka Bank in 2016, said of Shaikh Kamel’s passing: “I personally have fond memories of a pioneering spirit, a man who persevered in the most difficult times to revive the spirit of economic distributive justice through Shariah principles of Islamic banking and finance. May his efforts inspire our generation to continue with his great legacy.” Shaikh Kamel established one of the Middle East’s largest conglomerates, Dallah al-Baraka Group, ranked fifth in the top 100 Saudi companies. Al Baraka Bank Chief Executive, Mr Shabir Chohan, said of Shaikh Kamel’s passing: “He was an iconic figure in Islamic finance. He played a visionary role in establishing Albaraka Bank Limited in South Africa and leaves behind him a tremendous banking legacy. We can all be most grateful for his pioneering work in this field.” In a statement, Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group said: “With great sorrow, the Board of Directors, President and Chief Executive, Executive Management and Staff of Al Baraka Banking Group mourn the demise of Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel. We convey faithful condolences to his family members.”—Agencies