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The School of International Regional Studies is a research and educational centre seeking to revive international regional studies as an academic discipline in Russia. The department’s world-class professors train the next generation of regional studies specialists while developing an increasingly prestigious research school.
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The meeting was opened and moderated by Elmira Imamkulieva, senior lecturer at the Department of International Regional Studies. Dr.Imamkulieva said that on the basis of the HSE University and the Department of Foreign Regional Studies, a university-wide elective course was launched focusing on the theory and practice of Islamic banking in the 21st century. Also, a project on Islamic banking has already started in cooperation with the University of Tehran. The projects aim to develop a regulatory framework for research in Islamic finance, developing comprehensive understanding of Islamic finance. During the seminar, Elmira Imamkulieva and Svetlana Babenkova presented the interim results of these projects.
During the event, the expert extended on the role that Islamic finance plays in the contemporary world. The following issues were considered:
At the beginning of the discussion, Svetlana Babenkova noted that understanding the financial system of any Eastern country is impossible without understanding the language, history and culture of the region, and most importantly, without understanding the mentality of these nations. In the understanding of ordinary people, stereotypes imposed by the media which do not reflect the depth and comprehensiveness of Eastern mentality, often prevails.
The expert explained in detail how Islam, or more specifically, the history of the formation of Islam as a religion, influenced on the financial system, and how this was subsequently reflected in religious texts. Thus, Islamic finance is based on the concept of “justice”: a person should not demand more than he lent.
Svetlana Babenkova also focused on the term “Islamic finance”; for many people far from the Middle East studies, the term “Islamic” is associated with negative connotations and Islamophobia. Because of this, thus many experts suggest the term “Arab finances” instead. The expert noted that in countries where the main religion is Islam, except Iran, there is no 100% participation of Islamic finance.
Describing the activities of Islamic banks, the expert emphasized that they, like any other banks, primarily seek to make a profit. Therefore, the main problem of Islamic banks concerns their liquidity. Other problems of Islamic finance are the shadow economy and black market, corruption and money laundering. In addition to Sharia compliance, Islamic banks must comply with local laws, which significantly slows down their implementation and development.
The expert shared her personal impressions regarding the introduction of “Islamic windows” in Russian banks. Also, she shared her views on the attitude of believers towards such banks.
For video, please follow the link: https://youtu.be/E1IqDGEiVXs