|Nazir Mian Muhammad|
Compliance with the principles of shariah by Islamic banks in all their activities and operations makes them distinct from conventional banks and as such requires different treatment for them in some specific areas. With the current pace of growth of Islamic banking, more particularly Islamic banks' transition from boutique banks to full-scale financial institutions offering, among others, a suite of complex banking solutions in full competition with conventional banks, it would be necessary to have a representative body for Islamic banks which understands their business model and their distinct requirements and can effectively represent them before the regulators and other stakeholders as an important section of the mainstream industry.
The UAE represents a sizeable portion of the total Islamic banking and finance industry and is offering a very friendly environment for the growth of Islamic banking and finance. It also hosts eight fully-fledged Islamic financial institutions and various Islamic windows of conventional banks. It is the right time for the UAE Islamic banks to set up an association – an Emirates Islamic Bankers' association (EIBA). The EIBA's primary focus should be to represent Islamic banks and Islamic windows in the Emirates Banks Association, the Central Bank of UAE and other stakeholders on all policy matters such as legislation, regulation and standardisation of Islamic banking and finance practices at the UAE level.
Mian Mohammad Nazir