On 16th July, Gatehouse Bank Kuala Lumpur hosted Majlis Berbuka Puasa to celebrate the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan. Acting British High Commissioner, Ray Kyles, and Richard G Thomas OBE, Senior Adviser to the Board of Gatehouse Bank and Chief Representative of Gatehouse Bank Malaysia, together welcomed friends and distinguished guests.
The gathering joined to break fast and listen to a specially prepared address by Prof. Datuk Dr. Syed Othman Alhabshi, Chief Academic Officer of the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCIEF), a global university offering academic and professional qualifications in Islamic finance.
During the welcome address, Mr. Thomas made special reference to the influence of the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) on the development of Islamic Finance in the UK over the past 12 months. He noted that not only had it influenced the announcement of the UK Government Sukuk, but it also had an impact on several long-term initiatives such as Shariah-compliant student study finance. He expressed thanks and gratitude to WEIF’s Secretary General, YBhg. Tan Sri Ahmad Fuzi Haji Abdul Razak for bringing the forum to London and making it such an important event.
Mr. Thomas also expressed his appreciation to INCIEF’s President and CEO, Daud Vicary Abdullah, for the excellent work INCIEF has achieved in sharing and promoting knowledge about Islamic Finance globally and establishing firm links in the UK with academic institutions, such as the University of East London (UEL). Mr. Thomas welcomed a group of INCIEF students to the event and advised that those industry leaders in the audience who were worried about finding talent to manage growth and innovation in Islamic Finance industries should look no further than that group for eligible candidates.
The less privileged members of the community also enjoyed breaking fast that evening through the support of the Pertiwi Soup Kitchen.
In the spirit of putting knowledge first, Prof. Datuk Dr. Syed Othman Alhabshi prepared and delivered a special lecture to the assembled guests, entitled “The Constant Behaviour of Generations of Men”. The scholarly address drew upon personal accounts of non-compliant behaviours and the works of academics such as Prof. Dr. Abbas Mirakhor, Joseph Stiglitz and Richard Holloway, to propose that - certainly in financial markets - man is prone to bad behaviour which seems to re-occur. He explained that markets have a subsidiary role that requires the participants to internalise rules of behaviour before entering it. He believes that this requirement was further emphasised by Al Ghazali so that mistakes could be minimised and in turn minimise the harm inflicted on humanity by this constant bad behaviour.
The address was both inspirational in positioning how Islamic Finance can address these matters that have been of such global significance over recent years, but also acted as a warning that true compliance with Shariah is required if Islamic Finance is to avoid the risks of the “The Constant Behaviour of Generations of Men”.
Prof. Datuk Dr. Syed Othman Alhabshi also led the Prayers that evening.