Thursday, January 17

As Islamic banking takes off, new courses are being set up in the universities

Good Stuff. I quote:

It’s the fastest-growing sector of the banking industry, yet few City boys know much about it and hardly any finance students are being taught it. But Islamic banking’s mysteries are now beginning to be unveiled and just this last month a business school and an accountancy body have announced new postgraduate programmes specialising in it.

Teaching the complexities of the markets and the Byzantine mass of Islamic scripture is impossible in a year, so Bangor’s course will balance finance and Islam, with the emphasis on the first. “You have people who take the religious approach, where a lot of the debate is about the semantics,” says Phil Molyneux, professor of banking and finance and head of Bangor Business School. “We won’t be spending a lot of time on that.”

The new course has already attracted applications and interest from the Muslim world and even from non-Islamic financial hubs such as Hong Kong. Still, it is a fairly daring move. Most students are expected to come from overseas and the university faces stiff, and cheaper, competition from courses elsewhere, in particular the International Islamic University Malaysia.

Is one module enough? “We are not saying that a course is enough, but a Masters is too much,” says Dr Marwan Izzeldin, course tutor at Lancaster. “A Masters will limit their chances. There are still more jobs in traditional banking than in Islamic banks.” The course will be sufficient, he says, for graduates to work in the sector, analysing Islamic financial products.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

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