Vatican Offers Islamic Finance System To Western Banks

11 04 2009

Vatican offers Islamic finance system to Western Banks

 
 
 
http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/3819

http://www.worldbulletin.net/images/news/58469.jpg 

 The Vatican says Islamic finance system may help Western banks in crisis as alternative to capitalistm.


Friday, 06 March 2009 15:10


World Bulletin / News Desk

The Vatican offered Islamic finance principles to Western banks as a solution for worldwide economic crisis.

Daily Vatican newspaper, ‘L’Osservatore Romano, reported that Islamic banking system may help to overcome global crisis, Turkish media reported.
The Vatican said banks should look at the ethical rules of Islamic finance to restore confidence amongst their clients at a time of global economic crisis.

“The ethical principles on which Islamic finance is based may bring banks closer to their clients and to the true spirit which should mark every financial service,” the Vatican ‘s official newspaper Osservatore Romano said in an article in its latest issue late yesterday.

Author Loretta Napoleoni and Abaxbank Spa fixed income strategist, Claudia Segre, say in the article that “Western banks could use tools such as the Islamic bonds, known as sukuk, as collateral”. Sukuk may be used to fund the “‘car industry or the next Olympic Games in London ,” they said.

They also said that profit share, gained from sukuk, may be an alternative to the interest. They underlined that sukuk system could help automotive sector and support investments in infrastructure area.

Islamic sukuk system is similar to bonos of capitalist system. But in sukuk, money is invested concrete projects and profit share is distributed to clients instead of interest earned.

Pope Benedict XVI in an Oct. 7 speech reflected on crashing financial markets saying that “money vanishes, it is nothing” and concluded that “the only solid reality is the word of God.” The Vatican has been paying attention to the global financial meltdown and ran articles in its official newspaper that criticize the free-market model for having “grown too much and badly in the past two decades.”

The Osservatore’s editor, Giovanni Maria Vian, said that “the great religions have always had a common attention to the human dimension of the economy,” Corriere della Sera reported today. 

 

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US Companies Aim Advertising At Muslim Americans

24 09 2007
US Companies Aim Advertising at Muslim Americans
By Mohamed Elshinnawi
Washington
19 September 2007

Watch Advertising for Muslims / Windows Broadband  video clip
Watch Advertising for Muslims / Windows Dialup  video clip

A recent study by the nation’s largest advertising firm shows that the Muslim American community has an estimated purchasing power of about $170 billion. JWT Advertising conducted the study, and it is now working with a wide variety of companies to develop strategies to attract Muslim American customers. VOA’s Mohamed Elshinnawi examined the new trend in Dearborn, Michigan, near Detroit, where there is a dense population of Muslims.

These children are participating in an advertising campaign
The six to eight million Muslims in the U.S. are beginning to be sought after by marketers and consumer goods manufacturers

JWT Advertising says companies in the Detroit area are leading the way in using the cultural aspects of the Muslim faith to expand their share of the Muslim American market.

Ann Mack is JWT’s director of trends spotting. “Some marketers — I am not going to name them specifically — are having Ramadan advertisements,” she says, “and because they are speaking specifically to these populations, they will appeal, they will resonate and those consumers will tend to gravitate towards these brands.”

The study shows that the six to eight million Muslims in the United States are looking for recognition and respect, and that companies should make sure they are not neglecting or offending their community.

One company that is not is the Swedish furniture company IKEA. It has a store near Dearborn that initially attracted few Muslim shoppers. So the company consulted with Nasser Baydoun, Chairman of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce. He recalls, “What we were able to do was to teach them how to market to our community — how does our community get its information, how do they choose which store they go to and how does IKEA create a working staff that is friendly to the community.”

Ikea staff benefited from the diversity training, and became familiar with the Muslim community’s needs. Lisa Allen is IKEA’s public relations director. “When we are speaking to Arab Americans,” she says, “we can connect with them on that level, talk about their needs. For IKEA, it is all about how our product solutions fit your needs and your life style.”

A team of the company’s designers and marketers visited Muslim Americans’ homes to see how to adapt the stores’ products to customers’ customs and preferences. One plan is to offer decorations for the holy month of Ramadan and to add halal meals to the store’s food menu. Muslim American shopper Ismail Hakki says he is looking forward to seeing such offerings. “Like decorations for Ramadan, for the Eid [celebration after Ramadan] too, like some [halal] food or some cloth for the Eid.

Muslim-Americans, wear clothes which are marketed to everyone
Muslim Americans wear clothes that are marketed to everyone, as well as items specifically for them

Other companies are planning innovative approaches to cater to Muslim Americans’ needs. Amal Berry is the vice president of Comerica Bank. “Currently we are underway in a research project to understand exactly what Sharia law [Islamic law] says and whether the bank will be able to provide true Islamic bank products and services.”

McDonald’s in Detroit is offering halal chicken, Rite-Aide drug stores have Arabic signs and Comcast cable network is carrying the first nationwide Muslim American TV channel.

Fred Eaton is Comcast’s director of corporate affairs. “Comcast offered Bridges TV the opportunity for carriage on our cable system. In fact, Detroit was the market where Bridges TV was first launched,” he explained.

Marketing experts say advertising for the Muslim American community is a win-win situation. They say American companies will use it to expand their market share, while Muslim Americans will enjoy recognition and respect.