Rushdi Siddiqui

rushdi photo

Islamic Finance; Overreaction of the West?

Although perceived well, Islamic Finance has also received much resistance in the Western world. Rushdi Siddiqui, one of the world’s most recognized experts in the field of Islamic Finance, highlights the reason for its boom, but also explain how misunderstanding, fear and ignorance has created a non-tolerance, while Shariah banking, simultaneously, is slowly taking over the conventional banking.

To the Western world, Islamic finance is like how Winston Churchill has once described Russia; a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Today, to many countries outside of the Muslim world, Islamic finance is both mysterious and frightening, and has become the 21st century’s feared bogeyman in certain quarters.
 
Reaction to its fast expansion and adaptation in countries where conventional finance dominates, has produced endless deconstructive debate, including accusations that it is a ‘slippery slope’ for loss of women’s rights to the replacement of the constitution in parts of the developed world to the clash of civilizations and, to conspiracy theorists, it offers a platform for catering to fundamentalist agendas in the Muslim world.

Can it be that, as a commentator Annie Rice once said, “we're frightened of what makes us different” is the somewhat psychological explanation to this phenomenon?
 
Rushdi Siddiqui joins the BOLD 2011 platform to tackle this question, and to further explore other possibilities that might generate this misunderstanding of Islamic finance in the western world. Furthermore, Rushdi will not talk about screening, structuring, or scholars, but put issues in perspective by using real world examples that may open the minds of the anti-Shariah movement and tone down the rhetoric of the Islamic finance cheerleading movement.

Rushdi Siddiqui came across Islamic finance by accident more than a dozen years ago; from a marketing officer of the Dubai headquarted commercial bank (Mashreqbank) based in NY, to a business development officer at a wall street based investment bank to global director of Islamic Index group at an index provider (Dow Jones indexes), and, finally, to Global Head of Islamic finance & OIC Countries at Thomson Reuters. He has traveled to more than 30 countries and has observed the state of Islamic finance to varying degrees. Rushdi has received more than a dozen awards, including American Muslim Achievement Award (US), Most Outstanding Person for Contribution to Islamic Finance (Malaysia), Contribution to development of Islamic Finance & Banking in Sri Lanka, and others, presents at conferences globally, has been published globally, and writes fortnightly article in GCC and Asia on Islamic finance, and, most proud, about thinking and doing outside the traditional boundaries.