Kerala, gateway for Islamic banking in India

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Kuala Lumpur/Kerala—The International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) will be conducting its Islamic banking and finance programme at the Ma’din Academy in the southern Indian state of Kerala from June onwards under a collaboration with the institution. IIUM Rector Prof Datuk Seri Zaleha Kamaruddin said the university saw good prospects for its programme in Kerala as the state has a sizeable Muslim population. For a start, about 200 students in Ma’din Academy located in Melmuri in the district of Malappuram will be taking the Master of Science in Islamic Banking and Finance programme, on a full-time or part-time basis.
Fifteen lecturers from IIUM’s Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance would initially be involved in conducting the programme in India, Zaleha told Bernama after the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between IIUM and Ma’din Academy here, recently. The academy was represented by its Research and International Studies Director-General Dr K.K.N Kurup. Zaleha said those intending to take the programme should have a degree in accounting, business, banking or law, while those with working experience of not more than five years in the relevant fields were also encouraged to take it up. Besides its main campus, Ma’din Academy operates 25 other various institutions providing Islamic education in India and also has collaborative programmes and MoUs with institutions in Australia, Spain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
According to Zaleha, IIUM has been working with Ma’din Academy in other areas over the past five years and it believed that Kerala would be the gateway for the university to introduce Islamic banking and finance to other states in south India, as well as New Delhi and Punjab in the north. “We also want to open up opportunities for non-Muslims to study Islamic banking. The fact that IIUM is conducting the course in English is an advantage for us,” she said. Zaleha said the idea of introducing a course in Islamic banking and finance first came about during a visit to Kerala by IIUM President Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim not very long ago.
“More than 10,000 people attended a talk given by Dr Rais at Ma’din Academy and he was very impressed with the turnout. “That’s when we came up with our proposal to introduce our professional Islamic banking programme as we were confident it will receive good response,” she said, adding that Ma’din Academy managed to get 200 students for the very first programme even without doing any marketing or advertising. She added that a survey of the Kerala market carried out by IIUM also revealed that it would be viable for the university to introduce such a course there. Zaleha said IIUM also aimed to introduce its Islamic banking and finance programme to Indonesia, China, UAE and Kuwait.
Rais, who was also present at the MoU signing ceremony, said he hoped that the collaboration between IIUM and Ma’din Academy would serve as a springboard for similar tie-ups with other educational institutions in the world. “There’s a need for us to take a good look at the alternative Islamic economic system, instead of (focusing on the) US dollar and the type of commerce we have today where Islam doesn’t play a role. “We must view Islam as a religion that offers us all a comprehensive way of living through the adoption of an alternative system,” he told reporters.—Bernama

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