The international webinar on Islamic Economics, Finance and Technology Australia (IEFTAR) 2021 held on Saturday 4 December 2021 was one of the realisation of concerns over the education on Islamic financial economics and its technology implementation in Australia.

Strengthening the Australian Muslim community literacy and empowering the public awareness to live ethically according to the sharia was the main goal of holding this international webinar.

The event that was conducted sequentially with the AKIC ground breaking ceremony has successfully promoted rich initial discussions between community members and the industry practitioners in Australian Islamic finance and banking sector.

Dr. Teuku A Geumpana the Chairman for IEFTAR 2021 giving the opening remarks.

The international webinar was organized by the Ashabul Kahfi Islamic Center (AKIC) Sydney, in collaboration with the Crescent Wealth Australia and the Indonesian Islamic Economic Community (Masyarakat Economi Syariah – MES) in Australia.

During his keynote speech, Dr Chalidin Yacob, founder of AKIC began the session by expressing AKIC`s commitment in facilitating education to create community awareness over the development of the Islamic finance industry in Australia, and AKIC will optimize its resources, including its network of experts, to participate in encouraging the growth of the Islamic economy and finance in this country.

Similarly, other important messages were delivered by Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman, President of the Australian National Imams Council, Dr Sayd Farook, Executive Director of the Crescent Foundation, and Professor Fethi Rabhi from the School of Computer Science Engineering, University of NSW.

These speakers highlighted the development of Islamic economics and finance from the sharia law perspective, the challenges of developing Islamic economics and finance in Australia, and the use of financial data to encourage innovation in Islamic finance.

Dr Sayd Farook from the Crescent Wealth emphasised that the financial industry was a highly-regulated sector and therefore, it was necessary to have a deep understanding of the various applicable regulations and requirements before establishing any Islamic financial institutions.

Meanwhile, Professor Rabhi highlighted the importance of value extraction from financial data to promote innovation in Islamic finance and stressed that with the current technology we have easy data access on various information on Islamic money, sukuk, indices and funds.

During the panel sessions, Dean Gillespie, Chief Executive Officer of Islamic Banking Australia (IBA) Group shared their experience in establishing the first Islamic Bank in Australia. IBA Group is the first prospective Islamic bank in Australia which is currently waiting for an operational permit from the local regulatory agency, the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA).

Mas Johan Harris, the Head of Investment from Crescent Wealth, explained the history of the establishment of Crescent Wealth and the company’s strategy on its future growth.

Dr Imran Lum, Director of Islamic Finance, National Australia Bank talked about his experience in establishing an Islamic finance unit in a large bank, as well as various business strategies and challenges he faced.

As the final speaker in the first panel session, Dr Abulkhair Jalauddin, an expert on Islamic finance and director of the Islamic Financial Services Council of Australia (IFSCA) explained the huge market opportunity for the Islamic finance industry, especially with the continued increase in Australia’s Muslim population, especially those in the productive age group.

Mr Wachid Muslimin from ALAMI Sharia highlighted how to reach Maqasid Al Shariah via Sharing Economy and Digital Economy.

The second panel session of the IEFTAR webinar discussed various opportunities that need to be optimized by the Indonesian diaspora community in Australia. The president of MES Australia, Shaifurrokhman Mahfudz, emphasized the importance of strengthening a common commitment in building a common platform with all components of Muslims and the diaspora in general.

Being the last speaker at the second panel session, Wachid Muslimin from ALAMI Sharia outlined the contributions of ALAMI Sharia Financial Platform in Indonesia by elaborating how ALAMI adopted both sharing and digital economy models into the correct implementation of Maqashid Al-Shariah (the Goal of Sharia).