February 23–24, 2006 — Lebanese American University, School of Business, Irwin Hall, Beirut, Lebanon
UNDER THE AUSPICES OF HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRIME MINISTER OF LEBANON MR. FOUAD SANIOURA
Interest in Islamic banking has grown considerably during the last decade. The main issues of concern are the conceptual framework and viability of interest-free banking, and the assessment of its performance and future. In a world where conventional interest-based finance is the dominant framework, Islamic banking faces many challenges that must be addressed. The purpose of the 2nd LAU Banking and Finance International Conference is to analyze the past experiences of Islamic banks, to provide an objective assessment of their success and failure, and to discuss the contemporary issues and challenges confronting them.
In particular the conference will address the following issues but not limited to:
Lebanese American University
An essential feature of Islamic banking is the prohibition of interest (“riba”). The interest-free Islamic banking is based on the concept of profit-and-loss sharing, where the lender shares losses with the borrower. The question is whether this system can be relevant in the world of revolutionary, technology-driven global finance. Islamic banks mushroomed across the world. Many conventional banks nowadays have Islamic windows or separate branches that deal with Islamic financial products. The fact that Islamic banks have been around for the last decades and continue to prosper is a proof of the viability of Islamic finance in a world dominated by interest-based banking.
Yet, Islamic financial products should be in compliance with the Shari’ah (Islamic law) and the establishment of any new practice should be compatible with the Shari’ah. There are several theoretical issues that constrain the growth of the Islamic finance industry. In addition, Islamic banks face numerous challenges regarding the implementation of the Basel II Capital Accord that is aimed at interest-based banking.
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