On Friday, 4th May 2018 the IFIS&IZ hosted an international conference on “Religion and Finance in Germany”. Prestigious scholars in economics, representatives from banking sector and lawyers, experts in business ethics, entrepreneurs and from the bank supervision have discussed on the impact of religious belief systems on modern economies. The opening speech of the interdisciplinary conference was held by the host of the event Prof. Dr. Hüseyin İlker Çınar (Founding Director of IFIS&IZ). In his opening statement Prof. Dr. Çınar gave an overview of the theological foundations of the Islamic economy and finance system. Prof. Dr. Çınar emphasized on the demand for a re-interpretation of the holy texts, but this shall be not limited only to the sciences of theology and economy to avoid misinterpretations and misconceptions. Qualified scholars have make use in a professional and skilled manner the mechanisms of rational thinking and innovation. Once these prerequisites are fulfilled related progress can achieved and aberrations can be corrected, said Prof. Dr. Çınar. The event was sponsored by KUDEM – Culturehouse of European Muslims and the KT Bank AG.
The keynote of the conference was held by Prof. Dr. Mehmet Asutay (Director, Durham Centre for Islamic Economics and Finance, University of Durham). Prof. Dr. Asutay gave an overview of the criteria and specifics of his concept of the Moral Economy, which foresees a holistic and coherent approach rather a simple layer of ethical or Islamic values, emphasizing on the behavioral aspect, which he described as embedded to each invividual and organization taking role in the system. Further contributions were made by Dr. Frauke Demuth, who presented the results of her doctoral research on „An Islamic Economy based on Rizq“, and Burhanuddin Bin Lukman (Leader of the Takaful-Board in Malaysia), who shared his research and the Malaysian experience related to M&A and the Islamic Perspective.
Interesting insights in the global context on Islamic Finance were presented by Prof. Dr. Volker Nienhaus (Rhein-Ruhr Universität Bochum), who compared the business models of conventional and ethical or religious motivated banking and finance models. Prof. Dr. Nienhaus recommend to the emerging Islamic financial institutes to apply existing evaluation systems and experiences in this field as Dr. Brigitte Bertelmann (stellv. Leiterin a. D., Zentrum Gesellschaftliche Verantwortung der Evangelische Kirche in Hessen und Nassau) has shared in her presentation about Christian motivated finance models and banks. The legal perspective has been presented by Prof. Dr. Matthias Casper (Universität Münster), Dr. Rüdiger Litten (Fieldfisher Germany LLP), and for the bank supervision Dr. Johannes Engels (BaFin, Frankfurt). In this context Dr. Ruşen Ahmet Albayrak (Executive Vice President, Corporate and International Banking, Kuveyt Türk Participation Bank) gave an overview of ecosystems and stakeholder management relevant to Islamic Banking. Important impulses towards Islamic banks and their further development in Germany were urged by Mr. Ender Önder (TDU Rhineland-Palatinate) highlighting the need for products and models which reflect the realities and requirements of entrepreneurs and the private sector.
The conference was summed up in a panel discussion with selected speakers by the moderator of the conference Mr. Ali Aslan. The IFIS&IZ aims to publish the contributions of the conference, which was held in German and English (simultaneous translation was provided) in order to grant access to the contributions and results to the public domain.