Towards the end of last year, I wrote a post lamenting how banks in Southern Africa milk their clients through unjustifiable chunks of high charges. This post is now one of the most popular posts of all time on this blog. It ranks as the fourth most commented post.Today, as I was browsing, I read about the opening of the World Islamic Economic Forum in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.In his opening address, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called on Islamic banks to take a leadership role in the global economy, amid the financial crisis. The BBC further points out that
Banks run in accordance with Muslims laws on interest payments and the sharing of credit risks are seen by many as fairer than traditional banks, less focused on profit and kinder to the communities they work in.
Islamic law prohibits the payment and collection of interest, which is seen as a form of gambling.
I don’t agree with the notion that the payment and collection of interest is a form of gambling. I also don’t think that these kind of banks can take a leadership role in the global economy. But I like the the fairness and kindness demonstrated by these banks to the communities in which they work. I just hope that banks in Southern Africa will one day voluntarily stop abusing their market power and become fairer and kinder to the communities in which they work.