The Islamic Financial Services Australia (IFSA) organised a seminar on Islamic Banking and Finance on 30 January 2016 held at the Auditorium of the Auburn City Council.

IFSA is working on a project to establish the first Australian owned fully functional Islamic Bank in Australia.

The speakers at the event included Dr Sheikh Ali Elgari of Saudi Arabia, Dr Ashraf Hashim of Malaysia and Dr Rashid Raashed of Australia. These scholars are later embedded by a contract, within the Sharia’h Audit Executives (SAE) of IFSA.

The seminar was moderated by IFSA’s deputy CEO Mr Norfadelizan Abdul Rahman. Other IFSA officials who attended the seminar included Dr John Hewson (Chairman Board of Directors, IFSA) Mr Yunus Ali Mondal (IFSA Director) Ms Farah Cassendra Jamaludin ( IFSA Office Secretary) and Mr Mike Lynch (Consultant/IM Project Manager).

Notably, as a powerful board committee and armed with sufficient executive powers on Shari’ah compliance vested in their hands, Sharia’h Audit Executives (SAE) of IFSA will guarantee that the proposed Islamic bank’s products and services are 100% Shari’ah compliant. This is an Islamic legal requirement to make a bank truly Islamic. At a later stage, IFSA intends to progress as a banking group to be known as Islamic Bank Australia (IBA) Project.

During the seminar, the speakers delivered their talks on various aspects of Islamic banking and finance, both in Australia and beyond. The talks were followed by in-depth discussions on various topics including the duties of a Muslim to seek Sharia’h compliant banking and finance.

The Q&A session was the most awaited event after the seminar, as participants actively asked questions on the viability of the proposed Islamic bank’s products and services to survive in Australia profitably, whilst meeting at the same time, the local regulatory mechanism and the needs and demands for a competitive banking and finance industry.

Participants have shown keen interest in IFSA’s initiative with the conclusion that Islamic Banking is a crying need for the fast growing Muslim community in Australia.

The potential patrons hope that Islamic banking and finance on offer, will eventually bridge the existing gap within the current Islamic financial institutions in Australia and an Islamic bank to be established with an aim to provide halal financing sources for the existing financial institutions.

Obviously, for Islamic banking to survive in Australia, it needs the support of the people who stand by their Islamic duty and conscience to avoid Riba at all cost. This can only be achieved through offering competitive banking products and services that are truly Sharia’h compliant and at the same time, are both competent and profitable, in providing and meeting modern banking and financial needs.