From Islamic finance to Muslim lifestyle

From Islamic finance to Muslim lifestyle

Rushdi Siddiqui Available at:

Rushdi believes that a change AGENT must tell the truth to a benevolent dictator, religious hardliner, and compassionately connect with youth and have nots.

Published: 7 July 2015

Only when you leave, can you arrive.

Colleagues have asked why I have “left” Islamic FINANCE after 15 years leading teams at DOW JONES INDEXES and Thomson Reuters?

It’s not about leaving, but about expanding my understanding about “have-not” Muslim needs.

Islamic FINANCE has reached only 38 million out of two billion million Muslims (Ernst & Young) in 40 years, and it’s more about the bankable and those with collateral.
Yes, Islamic finance is only the “grease” for the economy and not the economy.

In taking a step back and looking at the landscape, there was a light-bulb moment few years ago that something was missing in ACTION (MIA).

The original vision of the founders of Islamic banking, from Prince Faisal of DMI to Saleh Kamel of Albaraka to Saeed Lootah of Dubai Islamic Bank, was about FINANCIAL inclusion of the non-bankable. Otherwise, what’s the difference with conventional banking?

By non-bankable, I include the youth, say, under age of 30. They want ACCESS to risk capital to build a prototype of their idea, or finish building or start marketing their prototype.

So, the question becomes, what has Islamic BANKING AND FINANCE done for the poor versus the bankable, and what has it done for young entrepreneurs?

Today, sukuk and murabaha, alter ego of Islamic banking, are not FUNDING young people with ideas or poor people with Grameen bank like opportunities. (Note: Bangladesh’s Grameen bank is not an Islamic bank, as its imputed INTEREST RATES are above market rates.)

Furthermore, lets not confuse Islamic PRIVATE EQUITY (PE), linked to buyout of established companies via compliant structures, to Islamic venture capital, which exists more at conferences than in reality.

Finally, the sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) in the Muslim countries, like the largest in the Muslim world, ADIA in Abu Dhabi, have not yet invested in start-ups, even though the latter is an important ASSET class for a diversified portfolio.


The vision of Zilzar is about being a benefit-driven corporation, and not a for-profit only or non-profit only.

A benefit corporation is beyond CSR, SRI, and ESG, it’s about identifying the stakeholders in its entire ecosystem and establishing systemic linkages that provides synergistic benefits (connectivity).

There are other definitions, but we have customised it based upon how and where we see gaps in the Muslim lifestyle marketplace.

The gaps we have identified can be said to be the backbone of the Islamic digital economy.

The digital economy is the future needing blue-printing today, as the actual Muslim economies, mostly COMMODITY based, have not uplifted the lives, lifestyles or living of local people, ex outliers of select GCC countries.

Can we do more? Yes, we must do more, today!


The biggest problem in the Muslim world is not politics (democracy), religious differences (Shia and Sunni), or corruption (Transparency International’s low ranking), but the plight of micro-enterprises and SMEs.

These are the backbone of any country, emerging or developed, as they provide the majority of employment. Yet, access to FINANCING, be it conventional or risk-averse Islamic, is just not there or very difficult to tap.

Banks and SMEs do not fit seamlessly with each other today. The alleged challenges banks encounter include lack of interest, lack of customized interest rates for borrowers, underwriting costs are high, approval PROCESS time consuming, etc.

Thus, a matching opportunity has opened, called, ‘peer-to-peer’ (P2P) lending between borrowers and INVESTORS on-line.

From the website of Lending Club:

‘Lending Club is the world’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors. We’re transforming the banking system to make credit more affordable and investing more rewarding. We operate at a lower cost than traditional bank lending programs and pass the savings on to borrowers in the form of lower rates and to investors in the form of solid RETURNS.’

Islamic P2P lending does exist, for example “connects small businesses in need of capital with people who want to invest. Fast and inexpensive asset-financing for small businesses”.

But, to get greater traction, it’s a function of awareness, and we hope embed one of the P2P players we are having conversations with onto Zilzar platform for the benefit of our vendors. However, there are still regulatory issues to be addressed.

Equity crowd funding

From the website of

“Equity crowd-funding is the name given to the process whereby people (the ‘crowd’) invest in an unlisted company (a company that is not listed on a stock market) in exchange for shares in that company. A shareholder has partial ownership of a company and stands to profit should the company do well. The opposite is also true, so if the company fails investors can lose some, or all, of their investment.”

Thus, equity crowd funding is people’s capitalism with the essence of Islamic finance, risk sharing. For example, Cairo based was the world’s first (Islamic) crowd funding platform, and its has funded companies likes Nofoos, Minbetna, Optimizer, and others in Egypt.

(Full disclosure, I own small percent of Shekra and sit on the board of advisors. We have embedded Shekra onto Zilzar platform, but it has not received approval from Malaysia’s Securities Commission to do business as of yet.)

There are regulatory issues that need to be addressed to protect the interest of the small investors, but best in class regulations from the west exist and can be customised and adopted.

Thus, equity crowd FUNDING presents an interesting opportunity in the Muslim world to (1) provide risk taking capital (2) to young entrepreneurs for (3) building prototypes on ideas or finish building prototypes.

It may be just be the spark to bypass the non-cooperative banking sector, expand stakeholders in the CAPITAL MARKETS and grow an equity culture, a vital element in building a knowledge base economy.

Mobile to mobile (M2M)

Is M2M the electronic version of Hawala?

According to Investopedia website:

“Hawaladars, or Hawala dealers, arrange money transfers that are often backed only by trust, family connections or regional relationships. Hawala originated in South Asia during ancient times, and is used throughout the world today, particularly in the Islamic community as an alternative means of conducting FUNDS transfers. Hawala is frequently referred to as underground banking, which is a misnomer because Hawala services often operate openly and legitimately.”

According to the Thomson Reuters/Dinarstandard study on the Islamic economy, as of 2012, Muslims had 1.3 billion mobile phones or 21% of total, hence, massive opportunity for FINANCIAL inclusion via mobile phones.

For example, from the Economist magazine, Why does Kenya lead the world in mobile money? May 27, 2013:

“Paying for a taxi ride using your mobile phone is easier in Nairobi than it is in New York, thanks to Kenya’s world-leading mobile-money system, M-Pesa.

“Launched in 2007 by Safaricom, the country’s largest mobile-network operator, it is now used by over 17 million Kenyans, equivalent to more than two-thirds of the adult population; around 25% of the country’s gross national product flows through it. M-Pesa lets people transfer CASH using their phones, and is by far the most successful scheme of its type on earth.

“M-Pesa has since been extended to offer loans and SAVINGS products, and can also be used to disburse salaries or pay bills… One study found that in rural Kenyan households that adopted M-Pesa, incomes increased by 5-30%. In addition, the availability of a reliable mobile-payments platform has spawned a host of start-ups in Nairobi, whose business models build on M-Pesa’s foundations…’

M2M has been adopted by a number of Muslim countries, like Afghanistan, but there are a number of challenges, including MONEY laundering.

I would take it one step further, we have yet to see an Islamic payment gateway for e-commerce TRANSACTIONS for, say, halal products, hence, a major opportunity exists. The user would like to have an end-to-end halal solution.

Lessons from Etsy

From Linkedin influencer Bernard Marr:

“Etsy – the online marketplace which connects sellers of handmade goods and traditional craft products with buyers from around the world…

Over the past decade it has risen to become a leader in the market for peer-to-peer TRADING, enabling small-scale manufacturers and retailers make millions of sales each month.”

Now, imagine customer-to-customer (C2C) getting FINANCING via P2P or equity crowd funding and getting paid by M2M transfers. We are trying to do “etsy” with our Made in Penang and Made in Mindanao Powered By Zilzar campaign.


Financial inclusion is the tide that lifts all boats because of the network effect. Islamic FINANCE has yet been able to bring about financial inclusion to the Muslim masses.

A solution for inclusion is access to markets combined with innovative FINANCE, trusted platform, and technology.

What are you doing for inclusion for the masses? – July 7, 2015.

– See more at:

Russia looks to replace Western loans with Islamic finance

Russia looks to replace Western loans with Islamic finance

June 18, 2015 Alexei Lossan, RBTH
Available at:

Islamic FINANCE will help Russian companies make up for their credit shortage, which was in large part caused by the cooling of relations between Russia and the West. Russian banks are already showing interest in this alternative form of credit.

Islamic FINANCE could provide short-term relief to Russian companies.

Islamic finance could help Russian companies hit by Western sanctions to gain ACCESS to credit, Rustam Minnikhanov, President of the predominantly Muslim-populated Russian republic of Tatarstan, said at the Kazan Summit Forum.
“Muslim countries did not join attempts to isolate our country on the international arena, and the latest events in the world economy have shown that Islamic BANKS help counter world crises and supplement the world financial system,” Minnikhanov said. He added that this Islamic finance could not completely substitute Western credit, but instead could provide Russian companies with an important financial instrument. According to IMF’s latest calculations, by the end of 2015 the volume of Islamic finance around the world will amount to $3.4 trillion.

An alternative scheme

“Against the backdrop of world crises, the importance of Islamic finance only increases, because all the operations in this scheme are backed up by real money, while INVESTMENTS become secure and do not carry any risks,” said Qatar’s Undersecretary of Economy and Commerce Sultan Al-Khater. According to the requirements of Islamic banking, it is prohibited to charge interest while lending, while receiving credit essentially implies exchanging one commodity for another.
Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al-Madani, President of the Islamic Development Bank, said, “Islamic finance is by nature tied to real economic activity, which is why such a scheme allows the optimization of the internal resources.” He added, “The concept of dividing risk in Islamic banking stimulates healthy financial practices. In Islamic finance, the transactions are tied to real INVESTMENTS, which helps avoid speculation and the instability related to it.”
Al-Madani suggested that Tatarstan could be promoted as “an Islamic finance hub in Russia.”

Russian banks open to Islamic finance

According to Rustam Minnikhanov, Russian banks, including the country’s largest bank Sberbank, are currently showing an interest in Islamic FINANCE. One of the advocates of the development of Islamic BANKING in Russia is the head of Sberbank, former Russian Minister of Economic Development, German Gref.
“There are still problems with taxation and the lack of qualified personnel, but with the help of our colleagues in the Russian government, we will be able to make this PROCESS more dynamic,” Minnikhanov said. One example is Tatarstan’s largest bank, AK Bark, which has already attracted financing in accordance with Sharia regulations.
In January 2015, the local Alliance Insurance Company started selling an Islamic insurance product called Khalal INVEST.
Minnikhanov also told RBTH that the development of Islamic banking in Russia should be done on a federal level and that there is no talk of creating a unique financial zone in Tatarstan. “Today the KazanSummit is a platform that must change the attitude that Russians and Russian regions have towards Islamic finance, and this is our mission,” he said.
Elvira Nabiullina, Chairwoman of the Central Bank of Russia, met Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al-Madani this week.

Zulkifli Hasan

Islamic Finance as the Way Ahead for the Socio-economic Empowerment of the Global Ummah

Islamic Finance as the Way Ahead for the Socio-economic Empowerment of the Global Ummah

By Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, former chairman of the World BANK and IMF, former chairman of Asian Development Bank, former chairman of Islamic Development Bank and the Founding Chairman and Chief Executive of Petronas

Available at:

In this article I will be touching on certain issues that I consider pertinent and relevant to our efforts to further the global cause and development of Islamic finance and banking. Islamic economics, and thus Islamic finance, is based on the philosophy of justice, equity and morality. This is reflected by the overarching and core Shari’ah principles governing or underlying its features and operations, the most important of which are as follows:

prohibition of riba (usury), which includes interest on debt in any form,
prohibition or avoidance of gharar (uncertainty or ambiguity in contracts),
adherence to risk-sharing and reward-sharing, i.e. profit- and loss-sharing (PLS),
ban on immoral business activities and INVESTMENTS (such as production and sale of liquour, gambling, hoarding, pornography),
sanctity of contracts,
protection of ownership rights,
prohibition on dishonesty and deceptive practices,
discouragement of concentration of wealth in a few hands,
redistribution of wealth by way of zakat (alms tax).

The overall mission of Islamic finance is the socio-economic and moral well-being of the whole community. This means that its orientation and ethos differ, or should differ, from those of conventional BANKS. While the performance of commercial banks is solely measured on financial criteria, the most important of which is the profit criterion, the performance of Islamic banks ought to be based on a combination of social and financial criteria. The focus should never be solely on profitability but also on social benefits to the community. Adherence to this philosophy dictates that Islamic banks should not surrender themselves to the pressures of following the profit-maximization practices of conventional banking, such as getting rid of unprofitable but socially beneficial lines of business or downsizing the workforce to cut costs and thus contributing to unemployment, or shying away from microfinance for the empowerment of the underclass.

Proponents and practitioners of Islamic finance must always be mindful that the raison d’etre of Islamic economics is justice, equity and the socio-economic well-being of the whole community. They must not sacrifice this very important principle just for the sake of increasing their market SHAREor for easing the entry or expansion of their operations into the global financial system, which still very much functions and operates according to the rules, practices and ethos of conventional banking. In the long-term, the survival and growth of Islamic finance depends on its integrity and reputation.

Islamic banking and finance currently constitutes only a small portion of the global economy, although statistical data INDICATES that it is growing. An estimate has put the total assets held by Islamic banks and finance institutions globally at around $1 trillion in 2010 then increasing to $1.6 trillion currently, representing between 1 to 2 percent of the entire assets in the global economy and growing at between 15 to 20 percent annually. Some analysts take the VIEW that Islamic banks and financial institutions are more resilient than their conventional counterparts, better able to minimize or mitigate the effects of the most recent financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the global economic downturn that followed. Of course, this resilience is attributable to the inherent features and characteristics of Islamic finance itself, in view of its adherence to the Shari’ah principles, which I briefly mentioned. However, we should not fall prey to over-optimism and entertain the illusion that Islamic banking and finance is immune from the effects of a global recession, or, indeed, of any great shift or turn in the forces and currents that shape the world— culturally, politically, socially or economically.

For this reason, we must continuously make the effort to monitor and understand the happenings in the world as well as the apparent and hidden forces giving rise to them. These include first, the civilizational crisis today with the possibility of collapse and general chaos, as a result of the interplay of various seemingly intractable phenomena—climate change, global environmental crisis, depletion of natural resources, loss of biodiversity and extinction of species, economic instability, wars and serious humanitarian crises, proliferation of nuclear weapons, hunger and famine, widespread social unrest, and many more—all of which are largely attributable to human follies and misdeeds (ghafla and fasad in the language of Islam). Many factors have been advanced to identify the root cause of this civilizational malaise.

The second is globalization: in the last few decades, the world has become increasingly integrated in all spheres of life. This globalization is not an accident of history. It is underpinned by a combination of sub-processes and policies—particularly liberalization, privatization and deregulation—that are consciously propagated and pursued to promote free TRADE and level playing fields for all economic agents. High technology, particularly the Internet, and modern means of transportation enhance the speed and efficiency of the globalizing process. The opening of national markets to foreign competition, through a liberalized and deregulated environment, diminishes the ability and power of governments and market regulators. In this sense, the market is playing the supervisory role in reverse. Governments everywhere are under the constant surveillance and radar of international rating agencies and market analysts. Thus globalization is both a boon and a curse. Whether it works for us or against us depends to a large degree on our own wisdom, on the policies and strategies we put in place.

The third reality is the shift from the real economy to the financial economy; some observers refer to this phenomenon as “financialization”, whereby investors no longer look for dividends but behave more like gamblers speculating and betting on price movements, and by extension even on the collapse of national economies. This development magnifies the dangers and risks of speculation that many economists fear and is abhorrent to the Islamic financial system.

Finally, the rise of the global Occupy movement and the Arab Spring uprisings in the wake of the financial crisis of 2007–2008. They signify a new wave of consciousness and desire for change in the existing political, social and economic order and arrangements that benefit a few at the expense of many. The acceptance of capitalism as the economic system by the former socialist states does not negate the amorality of the system in which consumers are open to exploitation. It was the natural choice since capitalism was the order of the day, and it would have been odd for them to have done otherwise. Thus it is not surprising that the annual report put out by the World Economic Forum in Davos in each of the last three years identifies income inequality as the number one global risk.

It is worth reiterating that the Islamic economic system is neither capitalistic nor socialistic in nature. It is a system that has been provided by the Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW. It is the ethical system that operates on the basis of shared risk and profit to the lender and the borrower. Similarly, Islam differentiates between the production of goods and services, the science of economics as it were, and the manner in which they are distributed, or the economic system. The science of economics is universal and can be absolute, irrespective of creed and beliefs. The economic system, on the other hand, elaborates on the manner in which wealth is to be acquired, distributed and disposed of. It is, therefore, the ideal system that is not encumbered by the drawbacks of capitalism and socialism. This is the subject at hand and the crux of the matter; and the Islamic economic system has laid down the rules based on the Shari’ah.

The fundamental of the Islamic economic system lies in the belief that man is the representative or trustee of Allah SWT, who is the real owner of the heavens and the earth and everything in the universe. It is man’s right to apply resources for his existence, but it is not limitless. And divine wisdom dictates that man should not hoard his wealth as if it belongs to him absolutely, while denying the use of such wealth by others. It is for this reason that sadaqah and zakat were instituted, and these serve as the platform for the equitable distribution of wealth. It is also timely to note the contrasting differences between interest or usury or riba of the capitalist system and sadaqah and zakat. They are complete opposites of each other. While sadaqah and zakat channel wealth from the rich to the poor, interest channels wealth away from the poor to the rich. It denounces miserliness, greed, extravagance and unnecessary wastage. It is in this context that we must situate Islamic banking and finance.

There are good reasons for believing in a bright future for Islamic finance. As noted by Dr. Mahmoud Moheildin, the managing director at the World Bank, there is a growing interest in financial instruments that emphasize risk-sharing in the aftermath of the recent financial crisis. Islamic finance’s “underlying tenets of an ethical and just financial system that strengthens real economy sectors has tremendous global relevance. A large client base exists that is sensitive to doing business with socially responsible institutions” (“State of the Global Islamic Economy”, a 2013 report produced by Thomson Reuters). According to a survey conducted by Thomson Reuters, the demand for sukuk is expected to reach $421 billion by 2016 from $200 billion in 2012. In his inaugural address at the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in London in October 2013, the British prime minister, David Cameron, said he wants London to stand alongside Dubai and Kuala Lumpur as one of the leading hubs for Islamic finance. He also announced the plan of the London Stock Exchange to launch an Islamic Market Index. This is some of the good news that point to the wide open road for Islamic finance in the years to come.

The success of Islamic finance requires the commitment and support of many quarters, especially the government, which possesses the wherewithal to put in place the requisite regulatory framework and the policies to create a conducive environment and to allocate seed funds and resources. The experience of Malaysia is a good case in point. With a modest beginning in 1963 with the launching of Tabung Haji (Pilgrimage Fund), the brainchild of a pre-eminent Malaysian economist, Royal Professor Ungku A. Aziz—currently with assets of $10.4 billion and 8.2 million depositors—Islamic banking and finance in Malaysia has grown by leaps and bounds and is now internationally acknowledged as a leading success story. Value-wise, total Malaysian Islamic banking assets currently stand at about $168.4 billion, representing more than 10 percent of the global total, while our sukuk issuance accounts for more than 60 percent of the global Islamic bond market. Regulatory-wise, Malaysia is one of the 30 countries today to have standalone legislation and regulation governing Islamic banking and finance. Institution-wise, Malaysia has 21 full-fledged Islamic banks, the highest number worldwide, and 16 takaful/re-takaful operators, the third highest in the world behind Saudi Arabia, with 23 operators, and Indonesia, with 22 operators. In terms of supporting infrastructure, it has a full-functioning national Shariah Advisory Council, established in 1997 by Bank Negara Malaysia, the Malaysian central bank; the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF), a university established by Bank Negara in 2005 to provide education in Islamic finance up to the doctorate level; and, of course, the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), another initiative of Bank Negara inaugurated in 2002 as a standard-setting body of regulatory and supervisory agencies dedicated to ensuring the soundness and stability of the Islamic banking and finance industry.

However, for Islamic finance to realize its full potential and respond to the increasing demand for ethical, equitable, stable and risk-resistant financial products and services, serious efforts must be undertaken to address the challenges, weaknesses and constraints existing and their potential at all levels and in all aspects of implementation, operation and practice. Many proponents and thinkers in Islamic finance—including Dr. Umer Chapra, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Dr. Abbas Mirakhor, Professor Hossein Askari, Dr. Iraj Toutounchian and Mr. Daud Vicary Abdullah, just to name a few—have produced insightful analyses and have come up with substantive and useful suggestions relating to this very important issue; these include improving and strengthening regulatory framework and supervisory oversight, promoting standardization both domestic and across jurisdictions, rebalancing tax treatment, ensuring adequate liquidity, establishing sound best-management practices, establishing cooperative mechanisms to respond to crises occurring at institution and industry levels, ensuring adequate supply of trained personnel, and raising the level of understanding of Islamic banking and finance among judges, arbitrators and industry-connected professionals (lawyers, accountants, etc).

The efforts and measures undertaken in enhancing Islamic banking and finance should not focus merely on the quantitative aspect but must also encompass the qualitative as well. Firstly and most importantly is the need to strictly adhere to the core Shari’ah principles underpinning Islamic finance and resist the temptation to circumvent them, for example, by resorting to so-called creative financial engineering or using ambiguous or deceptive words or turn of phrases. Doing so would not only be wrong in the sight of the Shari’ah but also would compromise the integrity of Islamic finance itself, and this would ultimately reduce public confidence in the industry and damage its reputation. Secondly, we should give special priority to the socio-economic mission embedded within the philosophy of Islamic finance to realize distributive justice by extending the reach of services to the disadvantaged sectors of the community through micro-finance, qard al-hasan (good loan or loan without interest), zakat, sadaqat and waqf and so on.

In the early development of Islamic finance and banking, there was a tendency to not design Islamic finance products to the strictest of Islamic principles and standards. It was inevitable then as the understanding and measurement of the economic and finance systems were based on the conventional system. This being the case and given the lingering tendency, although somewhat infrequent now, to continue measuring the mechanics of Islamic finance using conventional indicators, I think a relook at the system with a VIEW to refining it is timely and opportune. In this regard, it does not hurt the system if we were to revisit what constitutes halal and haram in Islamic banking and finance. This, I SUBMIT, is part of the continuous quality-assurance exercise that we have to go through to keep our practice true to the dictates of the Shari’ah.

In the mission to empower the global ummah economically, it is now quite obvious that the system of choice is the Islamic economic system. To undertake this game-changing transformation of the global ummah requires the financial wherewithal to provide the substantial FUNDING. In this regard, the success of Tabung Haji (Pilgrim’s Fund) in Malaysia, the international waqaf movement and the growth of Islamic cooperatives could be replicated throughout the Muslim world to help in developing that financial muscle and strength. All that is required is the political will to make that replication a reality. With the right type of cooperation, and with the participation of such bodies as the Islamic Development BANK and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, which have the necessary technical expertise, the empowerment of the global ummah would be a reality. I strongly believe that such a development as this could provide the platform and the basis for the universal application of the Islamic economic system together with the complementary political and legal systems.

UAE banks discuss plan for centralised Islamic finance board

UAE banks discuss plan for centralised Islamic finance board

Available at:

The United Arab Emirates’ BANK industry association has discussed a proposal to create a centralised sharia board that would monitor Islamic banking, which could spur the growth of the industry.

The central bank had proposed setting up a Higher Sharia Authority that would complement and oversee the work of sharia boards at individual Islamic banks. This proposal was addressed at a recent meeting of the UAE Banks Federation, the association said on Sunday.

“Representatives of the Federation’s Islamic banking committee are working closely with the Central Bank on guidelines for the establishment of the NEW body that will help to ensure consistency amongst all UAE Islamic banks in their development of new structures and products,” it said.

Details of the timing and structure of the new entity were not specified.

Sharia boards are groups of scholars who rule on whether financial instruments and activities are religiously permissible. Gulf countries have in the past tended to follow a loose, decentralised model of Islamic FINANCE regulation, leaving much of it to sharia boards at individual banks and finance firms.

But the rulings of different boards can be inconsistent or leave scholars open to suggestions of conflicts of interest, increasing uncertainty among investors and slowing growth.

So in recent months some countries, including Oman, Pakistan, Morocco and Nigeria, have followed Malaysia’s example by moving towards a centralised board that can impose its will nationally.

The UAE Banks Federation, which represents 50 banks, also said on Sunday that it had approved the appointment of a new, independent monitoring agency that would help to implement its code of conduct for member institutions. It did not give details.

(Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; EDITING by Andrew Torchia)



Dr. Zulkifli Hasan
Yang Dipertua ABIM Negeri Sembilan


Sebuah negara yang disegani di dunia memiliki satu ketamadunan yang mempunyai masyarakat yang berdisiplin, berhemah tinggi berilmu, beriman, bertaqwa serta berakhlak mulia. Ketamadunan pula bertitik tolak daripada ketinggian intelektual dan pembudayaan ilmu. Kesemuanya ini pasti datangnya daripada didikan guru. Pada tahun ini, hari guru bertemakan “MEMBINA ILMU MENYEMPURNAKAN AKHLAK”. Ianya adalah bertepatan dengan hasrat murni pendidikan iaitu pembinaan kualiti akhlak terunggul atau “towering personality” bagi memastikan kejayaan pembentukan warga yang seimbang dari setiap aspek jasmani, emosi, rohani dan intelektual. Kes-kes serius melibatkan pelajar seperti buli, pembunuhan dan jenayah seksual yang dilaporkan akhbar menambahkan lagi kebimbangan terhadap kualiti dan keperibadian manusia yang ingin dihasilkan menerusi sistem pendidikan sedia ada.

Demi mencapai pembentukan akhlak terunggul, ianya memerlukan kegemilangan ilmu dan pendidikan bagi menjadi pemangkin kemakmuran dan kemajuan. Sejarah telah membuktikan bahawa kegemilangan sesebuah negara bergantung kepada kecemerlangan rakyatnya dan orang yang berperanan besar mewujudkan kegemilangan tersebut, ialah guru. Manusia hebat dalam sejarah kesemuanya dipengaruhi oleh guru-guru mereka. Dalam erti kata lain tidak akan adanya seorang pemenang anugerah Nobel, doktor, jurutera, saintis, professor, menteri, ahli korporat dan sebagainya tanpa adanya didikan awal dari guru.

Mutakhir ini kita sering mendengar rungutan ibubapa dan masyarakat terhadap guru. Aduan mengenai guru mendera pelajar, tidak terlatih, tidak ikhlas mendidik, mengejar sambil lewa dan sebagainya sering dipaparkan di dada akhbar mahupun di kaca televisyen. Kajian juga mendapati bilangan kes saman guru di Mahkamah juga meningkat dari masa ke semasa. Sesetengah pihak seringkali menyalahkan guru apabila dikaitkan dengan gejala keruntuhan dan kerasukan moral dan syahsiah generasi muda ketika ini. Faktor-faktor ini serba sedikit telah melemahkan semangat guru untuk menaburkan bakti secara ikhlas di dalam proses pendidikan dan pembelajaran. Kerap kali guru melahirkan rasa tidak puas hati dan kekecewaan mereka apabila pengorbanan mereka tidak dihargai bahkan disalahanggap oleh ibubapa dan masyarakat. Guru yang telah hilang keikhlasannya tidak akan dapat menumbang bakti dengan cemerlang ke arah pembentukan peribadi dan kualiti akademik generasi muda negara.

Peranan pendidik yang paling utama adalah untuk menyampaikan ilmu pengetahuan agar dapat membina rohani, jasmani, emosi, intelektual dan sosial pelajar yang seimbang. Dalam melaksanakan tanggunjawab ini pendidik yang baik mestilah mempunyai ciri-ciri tertentu seperti yang telah ditunjukkan oleh Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam. Islam amat menitikberatkan ilmu pengetahuan dan meletakkan darjat yang tinggi kepada orang yang menyebarkan ilmu. Ini telah dirakamkan oleh Allah Subhanahuwataala di dalam surah al-Mujadalah ayat 11 yang bermaksud: “Allah meninggikan darjat orang yang beriman dan di antara kamu, dan orang-orang yang diberi ilmu pengetahuan agama beberapa darjat”. Ayat ini menunjukkan bahawa orang yang berilmu mempunyai darjat yang lebih tinggi di kaca mata Islam lebih-lebih lagi orang yang menyebarkan ilmu pengetahuan seperti pendidik sama ada di peringkat rendah mahu pun di institusi pengajian tinggi.

Sebagai seorang pendidik yang diberkati Allah, mereka mestilah menjaga akauntabilitinya selaras dengan kesucian dan keberkatan profesion ini yang melibatkan proses transformasi ilmu pengetahuan. Secara umumnya, para sarjana Islam telah mengemukakan bahawa pendidik perlu memainkan fungsi seorang guru dan mencapai martabat sebagai pendidik (mudaris), penyampai yang benar (mualim), murabbi (pengasuh dan pendidik dengan kasih sayang, muaddib (pembentuk adab dan akhlak) dan mursyid (pembimbing ke arah kebaikan). Kelima-lima ciri unggul pendidik ini menjadi dasar dan asas kepada penjelmaan akhlak dan keperibadian seorang guru.

Akauntabiliti Sebagai Pendidik

Akauntabiliti sebagai pendidik merupakan perkara yang amat penting untuk dipelihara oleh setiap pendidik. Secara umumnya akauntabiliti pendidik merujuk kepada tanggungjawab seorang pendidik kepada setiap perkara mahu pun hasil kerjanya. Sebagai seorang yang profesional, pendidik perlu memelihara dan melaksanakan tanggunggjawabnya dengan penuh ikhlas dan sebaik mungkin. Ini adalah kerana pendidik merupakan pihak yang bertanggungjawab menghasilkan sumber manusia yang baik dalam pelbagai bidang demi keperluan negara bahkan umat seluruhnya. Secara ringkasnya akauntabiliti akademik ini boleh dibahagikan kepada tiga aspek utama iaitu kepimpinan, profesionalisme dan ketelusan serta kerahsiaan sama ada dalam hal ehwal pengajaran dan pembelajaran.


Aspek kepimpinan ini adalah sangat signifikan yang perlu ada pada setiap pendidik. Kepimpinan yang dimaksudkan adalah keupayaan mencorak, mengemudi dan memandu dalam proses pencapaian matlamat kecemerlangan individu pelajar dan juga institusi. Pendidik yang mempunyai ciri kepimpinan yang baik akan dapat mengatur strategi dan berusaha mempertingkatkan kualiti, berusaha penambahbaikan kecekapan dan kejituan ilmu dan proses penyebaran ilmu pengetahuan. Ciri kepimpinan ini akan diturunkan kepada pelajar-pelajar menerusi pembelajaran dan pengajaran serta aktiviti-aktiviti yang dilaksanakan. Kepimpinan melalui teladan merupakan teknik paling berkesan bagi melahirkan kepimpinan yang lebih baik pada masa depan.

Profesionalisme dan Pembudayaan Kualiti

Profesionalisme juga merangkumi semua aspek pengajaran dan pembelajaran. Profesionalisme dalam konteks pendidik merujuk kepada keupayaan dan kecekapan melaksanakan sesuatu tanggungjawab berdasarkan kepada panduan ilmu dan latihan, serta kepakaran. Di dalam melaksanakan sesuatu perkara seorang pendidik yang profesional adalah terikat dengan etika profesion yang merangkumi etika dalam keilmuan, etika sikap dan etika kemahiran. Sebagai contoh seorang pendidik perlu menyerlahkan elemen-elemen penjagaan tingkahlaku seperti, cara berpakaian, berkomunikasi, tidak mengadakan hubungan dengan pelajar, mematuhi masa, menghormati rakan sejawat, mengelak plagiarisme, kerja berpasukan dan menjaga kerahsiaan. Para pendidik juga menjaga amanah ilmu bukan sahaja bertindak untuk memperkayakan ilmu dalam diri sebaliknya sentiasa menyalurkan idea-idea dan ilmu yang ada pada mereka baik kepada pelajar mereka di samping mempunyai integriti yang tinggi. Profesionalisme juga menitikberatkan aspek ketelusan dan kerahsiaan. Pendidik mesti sanggup menerima teguran-teguran dan ini akan dapat meningkatkan lagi proses pengajaran dan pembelajaran. Dari aspek kerahsiaan, pendidik perlu menjaga hal kerahsiaan ini umpamanya soal penyediaan soalan peperiksaan dan juga maruah pelajar yang mempunyai masalah peribadi.Adalah menjadi kewajipan seorang pendidik untuk memastikan setiap hasil kerja mereka sesuatu yang berkualiti. Oleh itu pendidik perlu mempergiatkan aktiviti ilmiah dalam perkongsian ilmu, perluasan ilmu dan rangkaian tokoh-tokoh keilmuan, diinstitusi tempatan dan luar negara.

Ciri-Ciri Pendidik Unggul

Secara umumnya para ilmuan Islam telah menggariskan beberapa ciri pendidik unggul. Adalah menjadi kewajipan kepada semua pendidik untuk berusaha memenuhi kesemua ciri ini dan seterusnya mendapat keberkatan dari Allah Subhanahuwataala pada setiap perkara yang dilakukan. Ciri-ciri ini dapat disimpulkan seperti berikut:-


Mudaris berasal dari perkataan arab yang bermaksud mengajar ataupun pengajaran. Pendidik hendaklah bertanggunjawab menyampaikan ilmu yang ada padanya kepada pelajarnya yang boeh membina pemikiran, rohani, jasmani,emosi dan juga sosial. Apa yang diketahuinya hendaklah disampaikan kerana kerja pengajaran adalah sebahagian daripada amal soleh. Manakala enggan menyampaikannya adalah merupakan satu kesalahan.


Pendidik sebagai mualim boleh didefinasikan sebagai mengajar atau menyampaikan limu kepada orang lain dan mengamalkan apa yang disampaikan di samping berusaha menambah ilmu pengetahuan. Mualim mempunyai rasa belas kasihan kepada pelajar dan menganggap mereka seperti anak sendiri. Mualim mengajar kerana Allah Subhanahuwataala dan bukannya kerana ganjaran dan tidak mengharapkan balasan daripada pelajar.


Murabbi bermaksud memperbaiki, memimpin dan mentadbir. Pendidik sentiasa menyayangi pelajar dan menasihati dan membimbing dalam pembentukan syahsiyah mereka. Pendidik juga adalah kaunselor dan penyebar nilai budaya yang elok dan menjadi contoh kepada pelajar.


Muaddib bermaksud mendidik ke arah memperelokkan lagi akhlak pelajar. Pendidik yang muaddib merupakan individu yang bertanggungjawab dan melaksanakan pendidikan peradaban dalam pengertian yang luas dan mendalam terhadap peribadi dan kehidupan pelajar. Muaddib seorang yang memberi ilmu dan mendidik mereka dalam akhlak dan adab yang baik. Pendidik juga mendidik pelajar agar tidak merendahkan ilmu pelajaran lain selain dari yang diajar olehnya. Pendidik mendidik pelajar melalui akhlak yang baik daripada hanya penyampaian secara teori sahaja.


Pendidik yang mursyid bermaksud sebagai penuntun jalan hidup yang benar dan betul dengan nilai dan sikap yang benar dan berperanan sebagai hamba Allah Subhanahuwataala dan khalifahNya dimuka bumi. Mursyid menunjukkan kepada jalan yang benar dari sudut ilmu kesufian dan memberikan petunjuk kepada jalan yang lurus. Pendidik mempunyai tingkah laku baik dan terpuji, bersih dari akhlah tercela, tidak taasub atau fanatik, zuhud pada amalan dan perbuatan dan mempunyai tokoh kepimpinan. Syarat untuk menajdi pendidik yang mursyid ialah beliau mestilah alim dari segenap perkara atau disiplin ilmu, menyimpan atau menutup keaiban pelajar-pelajarnya dan pengajaran terkesan di dalam hati pelajar.

Kesemua ciri-ciri seorang pendidik unggul seperti di atas perlulah diamalkan secara berterusan dan dengan penuh iltizam. Pendidik perlu ada sifat mendidik pelajar kerana Allah Subhanahuwataala, berperibadi mulia, menjaga kehebatan dan kehormatan diri, memiliki ilmu dan kaedah pengajaran dan bersifat kasih sayang. Bukan itu sahaja ciri-ciri ini perlu diamalkan dan diserlahkan dari semua aspek termasuk kepimpinan, profesionalisme, tingkahlaku, pembudayaan kualiti dan khidmat masyarakat.

Langkah Memelihara Akauntabiliti Pendidik

Mendidik Kerana Mencari Keredhaan Allah Subhanahuwataala

Seorang pendidik perlu memastikan niatnya untuk bersifat ikhlas terhadap Allah Subhanahuwataala dalam segala amal pendidik yang dilakukannya. Allah telah merakamkan dalam al-Quran surah al-Bayyinah ayat 5 yang bermaksud ”Dan tiadalah mereka itu diperintahkan, melainkan supaya mereka menyembah Allah dalam keadaan mengikhlaskan agama kepadanya”. Ini dikuatkan lagi dengan sabda Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam yang bermaksud: ” Sesungguhnya Allah tidak akan menerima suatu amalan melainkan apa yang ikhlas kepadaNya dan yang ditujukan hanya untukNya. (Riwayat Abdu Daud dan an-Nasai). Pendidik hendaklah menunjukkan setiap pekerjaan yang dilaksanakan itu hanya semata-mata kerana Allah kerana hanya dengan keikhlasan beliau akan mendapat keredhaan dan keberkatan bahkan akan dikasihi dan dihormati oleh pelajar mahupun masyarakat.

Peribadi Mulia

Pendidik bukan sahaja menjadi ”role model” atau pun ikutan kepada pelajar menerusi sifat spiritual seperti ikhlas, jujur, sabar, kasih sayang, warak dan takwa, bahkan menerusi sifat-sifat fizikal atau lahiriah seperti tutur kata, tingkah laku, kebersihan diri, pakaian, tempat tinggal dan lain-lain. Justeru itu, bagi mencapai keberkesanan proses pembelajaran dan pengajaran serta pembentukan peribadi mulia, Islam mengutamakan tutur kata, tingkah laku yang baik dan nasihat berguna serta menarik. Hal ini dapat dilihat jika kita merujuk dakwah yang dijalankan oleh Nabi Musa dan Nabi Harun, ketika mereka menyampaikan seruan agama kepada Firaun yang amat zalim seperti yang difirmankan oleh Allah Subhanahuwataala dalam al-Quran surah thaha ayat 43 yang bermaksud:-” Pergilah engkau berdua kepada Firaun, sesungguhnya dia derhaka. Katakanlah kepadanya perkataan yang lemah lembut, mudah-mudahan ia akan dapat pengajaran atau takut kepada tuhan”.

Menjaga Kehebatan dan Kehormatan diri

Sudah menjadi tanggapan masyarakat mahupun pelajar bahawa seorang pendidik adalah seorang yang mempunyai kehormatan diri dan kehebatan ilmu pengetahuan. Oleh itu, sudah semestinya pendidik untuk beramal dan berpegang teguh dengan ilmu yang dimilikinya. Setiap amalan mestilah dilakukan dengan istiqamah dan seterusnya menjadikan diri untuk lebih bertakwa kepada Allah Subhanahuwataala. Pendidik tidak sepatutnya melakukan perkara yang berlawanan dengan ilmu yang dimiliki kerana ini akan menjatuhkan kehormatan diri dan mengurangkan rasa hormat pelajar kepadanya. Hal ini telah dirakamkan oleh Allah Subhahanahu Wataala di dalam surah al-Maidah ayat 44 yang bermaksud:-” Adakah patut kamu menyuruh manusia membuat kebajikan dan kamu lupakan diri kamu sendiri sedangkan kamu membaca kitab Allah, tidakkah kamu berakal”.

Memiliki ilmu dan kaedah pengajaran

Pendidik sememangnya perlu memiliki ilmu yang mantap dan mendalam dalam bidang yang diceburi. Pelajar akan lebih yakin dan mudah menerima ilmu yang disampaikan sekiranya pendidik benar-benar menguasai ilmu tersebut. Selain itu, pendidik juga perlu kreatif dan inovatif dalam menggunakan kaedah atau teknik pengajaran berkesan. Dalam dunia moden masa kini, pendidik perlu arif dalam penggunaan teknologi dan dalam masa yang sama sentiasa mempelbagaikan teknik pengajaran agar lebih berkesan dan menarik minat pelajar.

Bersifat kasih sayang

Pelajar merupakan golongan yang masih muda dan perlukan perhatian oleh pendidik mereka. Oleh itu pendidik mesti mempunyai sifat kasih kepada pelajar dan menganggap mereka seperti anak sendiri. Dengan sifat ini, pelajar akan lebih mudah mendekati pendidik dan dapat meluahkan masalah mereka. Sifat ini juga akan dapat menerbitkan suasana mesra di antara pelajar dan pendidik dan seterusnya akan memudahkan lagi proses pentarbiyahan dan pembentukan peribadi mulia.


Secara umumnya, seorang pendidik harus mencapai martabat seorang pendidik iaitu murabbi, mudaris, mualim, muaddib dan mursyid. Kedudukan seorang pendidik yang mursyid menjadikan setiap ilmu pengetahuan yang disampaikan akan menjadi lebih berkesan dan mudah diterima oleh para pelajar. Terdapat beberapa ciri utama seorang pendidik yang membolehkan mereka dapat membimbing pelajar dengan baik dan berkesan. Ini termasuk mendidik kerana Allah, berperibadi mulia, menjaga kehebatan dan kehormatan diri, memiliki ilmu dan kaedah pengajaran dan bersifat kasih sayang.

Akauntabiliti sebagai seorang pendidik merupakan perkara yang amat penting untuk dipelihara oleh setiap pendidik dan ini meliputi dari aspek kepimpinan, profesionalisme dan ketelusan serta kerahsiaan dalam pengajaran dan pembelajaran. Sesungguhnya sebagai seorang pendidik, beliau mestilah berusaha untuk memenuhi ciri-ciri seorang pendidik yang mursyid di mana mampu untuk membimbing pelajar bukan sahaja untuk mendalami ilmu pengetahuan yang disampaikan malahan dapat memberi panduan kepada mereka untuk menjadi insan yang berguna dan berjaya. Akauntabiliti sebagai seorang pendidik mesti dipelihara demi menjamin keutuhan institusi keilmuan yang sememangnya dipandang tinggi oleh Islam.


Al-Ghazali. (2006). Ihya Ulumuddin. Kuala Lumpur: Darul Fajar.
Ahmad Mohd Salleh. (2004). Pendidikan Islam. Selangor: Fajar Bakti.
Abdullah Ishak. (1989). Sejarah Perkembangan Pelajaran dan Pendidikan Islam. Selangor: Ar-Rahmaniah.
Ulwan Abdullah Nasih. (1981). Tarbiyatul Awlad Fi Islam. Cairo: Darul Salam.
Yaakub Isa. (1994). Guru dan Pengajaran yang efektif dalam Ahmad Mohd Salleh. (2004). Pendidikan Islam. Selangor: Fajar Bakti.

Madrasah Idrisiah

IMF endorses Islamic finance, warns it must be implemented better

IMF endorses Islamic finance, warns it must be implemented better


(Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund has endorsed the principles of Islamic FINANCE, saying it could prove safer than conventional FINANCE, but the multilateral lender warned Islamic bankers that they must tighten rules and follow them more consistently.

A report released by the IMF this week showed the lender’s growing interest in Islamic banking, which is expanding in much of the world. Last October, the IMF launched discussions with an external advisory group of Islamic finance experts and industry bodies.

The IMF’s report noted that because Islamic banking forbids pure monetary speculation and stresses that deals should be based on real economic activity, it could pose less risk than conventional banking to the stability of FINANCIAL systems.

This claim has long been made by proponents of Islamic finance seeking to drum up BUSINESS; the IMF’s endorsement is likely to add weight to their arguments.

“Islamic finance may…help promote macroeconomic and financial stability. The principles of risk-sharing and asset-based financing can help promote better risk management by both financial institutions and their customers, as well as discourage credit booms,” the IMF said.

However, the industry could fail to achieve its promise – and even have a destabilising effect – if it does not design its rules more carefully and implement them more consistently, the report added.

Christopher Towe, deputy director at the IMF’s monetary and capital MARKETSdepartment, said in a conference call that there were worrying differences in regulators’ handling of Islamic FINANCE, particularly where the industry was relatively young.

“Our analysis suggests that these standards are not being applied consistently, and this could either stifle the development of Islamic FINANCE or encourage its growth in a manner that creates systemic vulnerabilities.”

Towe added: “I think for Islamic finance to achieve the promise that we see it having, to reduce systemic risk, I think that the key criteria are that it has to be truly asset-based, and the requirements for risk-sharing that underly Islamic finance have to actually be applied in practice and not just in principle.”

Other issues which Islamic finance needs to tackle include a shortage of tools to manage the short-term funds of Islamic banks, the limited scope of sharia-compliant FINANCIALsafety nets for banks, and the need for greater legal clarity on the rights of investors, the IMF’s report said.

Some of these issues are now being tackled by standard-setting bodies such as the Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and the Malaysia-based Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB).

Last week, the IFSB said it had finalised a standard on “core principles” for use by regulators as well as a guidance note on liquidity management.

This standard will provide a coherent framework for regulators to use in handling Islamic finance, said Mohamed Norat, senior economist at the IMF’s monetary and capital MARKETS department.

One positive sign, he said, is the growing use of profit-sharing INVESTMENT accounts by Islamic banks; such accounts have loss-absorption qualities which help investors share risk.

In the last two or three years, profit-sharing INVESTMENT accounts have gone from around 2 to 3 percent of Islamic banks’ balance sheets to around 15 to 20 percent, and they are continuing to expand, Norat said.

“So we’ve seen an element of moving towards a more fully risk-based Islamic FINANCIAL system, which is a good sign.”

The IMF will continue working in Islamic FINANCE, conducting research and providing technical assistance to member countries, Towe said. The lender’s spring meetings in Washington next week will include a seminar on Islamic FINANCE, and it plans a global conference on the subject in November alongside Kuwaiti authorities.

The G20 group of nations has included Islamic finance in its annual agenda for discussion.

Austria passes controversial reforms to Islam law banning foreign funding

Austria passes controversial reforms to Islam law banning foreign funding

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Austria’s parliament has pushed through controversial reforms to the country’s law on Islam, banning foreign sources of funding and requiring imams to speak German. Austria’s parliament adopted legislation on Wednesday amending laws on Muslim organisations to ban foreign sources of FINANCING and require imams to be able to speak German.

The new law aims to promote what conservative Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz called an “Islam of European character”, by muting the influence of foreign Muslim nations and organisations, but giving Austrian Muslims more legal security in practising their faith.
Austria’s previous “law on Islam” dates from 1912, after the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina by the Austro-Hungarian empire.
The two-year-old bill passed by parliament on Wednesday predates the recent jihadist violence in France and Denmark, but is designed to “clearly combat” the growing influence of radical Islam, Mr Kurz said.
The new law will be carefully watched by other European countries facing the problem of SPREADING extremism.

Earlier this month French Prime Minister Manuel Valls similarly raised the notion of banning foreign FUNDING of Islamic organisations. Mr Kurz says officials in Germany and Switzerland have also expressed interest in the legislation.
Passage of the law comes amid estimates INDICATING around 200 people from Austria – including women and minors – have gone to Syria and Iraq to join jihadist militias like Islamic Front.

A poll published by the OGM institute on Tuesday found 58 per cent of Austrians feeling radicalisation of the nation’s Muslims was underway.
To combat the rising risk of radical indoctrination of foreign origin, the legislation bans Islamic cultural organisations and imams in Austria from receiving FUNDING from abroad.
It also requires the nearly 450 Muslim organisations in the country to demonstrate a “positive approach towards society and the state” in order to continue receiving official licensing.
Imams will be obliged to be able to speak German under the law – a bid to make their comments more accessible and transparent, while also facilitating the fuller integration of Islam into wider Austrian society.
“We want a future in which increasing numbers of imams have grown up in Austria speaking German, and can in that way serve as positive examples for young Muslims,” Kurz explained ahead of the vote.
The legislation also accords Muslims the right to consult Islamic clerics on the staffs of hospitals, retirement homes, prisons and in the armed forces.

Muslims in Austria will also have the right to halal meals in those institutions as well as in public schools, and will be allowed to skip work on Islamic holidays.
The adopted text scaled back farther-reaching measures contained in an earlier version, including the imposition of an “official” Koran in German that had sparked considerable controversy.
But the legislation has still generated opposition.
Before its adoption Turkey’s leading Muslim cleric, Mehmet Gormez, decried the bill as “a 100-year regression,” arguing no complaints have ever been lodged about the fact that Turkey FUNDS many imams in Austria.
The country’s main Islamic group, the Islamic Religious Authority of Austria, approved the bill despite other organisations denouncing its restrictions as “discrimination” that other religions aren’t saddled with.
Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, meantime, criticised the bill as insufficient in facing a rising threat, and dismissed it as a “placebo.”
Muslims make up roughly 560,000 of Austria’s total population of 8.5 million. Mist Austrian Muslims are of Turkish and Bosnian origin, as well as ethnic Chechens and Iranians.