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I have watched nearly all of this year's Republican presidential debates. I've been witness to the bombastic Newt Gingrich, the clueless Rick Perry, the robotic Mitt Romney, the cranky Ron Paul, the charisma-free Jon Huntsman and the unbalanced rightwing paranoia of Michele Bachmann. And then there is Herman Cain - a man who...
THE historian Walter Russell Mead recently noted that after the 1990s revolution that collapsed the Soviet Union, Russians had a saying that seems particularly apt today: "It's easier to turn an aquarium into fish soup than to turn fish soup into an aquarium." Indeed, from Europe to the Middle East, and maybe soon.
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No Islamic bank decision rollback, says QCB chief

IHSAN YOUSSEF DOHA THERE would be no rollback of the decision that requires traditional banks engaged in Islamic banking to stop the practice by the year-end. This was made clear by the Governor of Qatar Central Bank (QCB) HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al Thani at the inauguration of the threeday 8th International Conference on Islamic Economics and Finance (ICIEF) on Monday.

The move to prohibit Islamic banking by regular banks has to do, with issues related to the supervision and control mechanisms as well as matters relating to the monetary policy of the country, the QCB governor added.

Expressing confidence in the role of the local Islamic banks, Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al Thani said, “The QCB has been keen to protect full-fledged Islamic banks from complications and problems, the overriding concern of which pushed the QCB to clamp down on Islamic banking by traditional banks. As it is, balancing the traditional as well as Islamic banking activities is very challenging and make the supervision and control process more complicated apart from hindering optimal use of the monetary policy mechanism.” The QCB Governor lauded the role of the local Islamic banks reflected in the remarkable growth they have achieved and their contribution to the growth of the Qatari economy as envisioned by the Qatar Vision 2030 which aims to transform Qatar into a advanced country capable of achieving sustainable development and securing a better life for the successive generations of Qatar.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al Thani said that the Qatar Vision 2030 has already been turned into an action programme with the launch of the First National Development Strategy 2011- 2016.

The central bank’s CEO said that he felt confident that the Islamic banks would be able to meet the challenges of development by widening their areas of activities and not remained focused on just one portfolio. He pointed to two major challenges facing Islamic banks in Qatar. The first consisted in developing the legal infrastructure for their transactions and the second involved developing their products to meet the supervision requirements.

The Governor took pride in Qatar Central Bank’s studies on those two challenges which are under study of international organisations.

The three-day conference held for the first time in Doha at the state-of-the-art Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in the Education City is being hosted by the Qatar Foundation’s Faculty of Islamic Studies’ Islamic Economics and Finance Research Center. The co-organisers of the event are the Islamic Development Bank’s Islamic Research & Training Institute, the Organisation of Islamic Conference’s Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries, the International Association for Islamic Economics and others.

The conference is being attended by senior government officials, bankers and scholars from leading institutions across the world including the IDB president, former prime minister of Malaysia Dr Mahatir Mohammad and the Chairman of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Over 120 research studies selected from among 800 papers received so far from over 40 countries will be presented during the three-day conference.

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