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Istanbul-based university opens Center for Islamic Economics building

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
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Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University (IZU) will open its International Research Center for Islamic Economics and Finance (IRCIEF) building on Friday, Oct. 28 in contribution to the recent developments of participation banking in Turkey, where various events, conferences, summer school programs and vocational training programs will be organized. The IZU hopes to become a center for academic studies in the field. Launched by Kuwait, Turk and Albaraka Turk participation banks, the International Research Center for Islamic Economics and Finance aims to carry out projects to establish itself as a pioneer in the field of Islamic finance.

Named after the late professor Sabahattin Zaim, one of Turkey's prominent figures in Islamic Finance, IZU is one of the leading universities to have launched advanced degree programs in the field of Islamic finance, reaching around 400 students. The IZU has accepted 30 students to its undergraduate program in the department of Islamic economics and finance this year, as well. In addition to learning the theoretical background of Islamic economics, students will receive market-based education by participating in application-oriented courses. By offering courses in Turkish and Arabic, the IZU will enable Turkish and foreign students to be specialized in the field.

Established in 2012 in order to make contributions to the studies conducted in the field of Islamic economics and finance, with which Turkey shares cultural and historical ties, Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University International Research Center for Islamic Economics and Finance (IRCIEF) is the first research center opened in Turkey at the university level. Publishing Islamic Economics and Finance Magazine in order to transfer the studies conducted in this field to the masses and improve relevant literature, the Research Center also organizes an International Islamic Economics and Finance Conference in collaboration with national and international institutions to encourage scientific research in the field of Islamic economics and finance. The Research Center will offer a summer school program to further equip students, researchers and institutions with the knowledge they will need to comprehend and interpret the Islamic banking system in detail.

Stressing that the International Research Center for Islamic Economics and Finance is of grave importance in terms of completing the imperfect theoretical knowledge in the sector along with its scientific studies, University rector and professor Mehmet Bulut said education in the field focuses on economics as well as interest-free financing and other financial subjects, meaning that economic sources such as labor, capital, entrepreneurship and land ownership should be included within the scope of the economic aspect. Pointing out that Islamic banking plays an important role in the inclusivity of all sections of the economic and financial sectors, particularly the unproductive capacity, of society in the race for economic growth, Bulut said they will enable Muslims to live their lives in accordance with their system of values, belief, and cultural accumulation.

Expressing gratitude for the support of the Kuwait, Turk and Albaraka Turk participation banks, Bulut recalled the achievements of the said center so far while noting that along with the opening of its building, the center will train equipped students in undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate programs. "First, these students will enhance their own fields and along with the expansion of Islamic economics, the Turkish economy will get stronger which means that our country will reach the international goals it deserves more easily," Bulent said, promising that students will be educated in this center with the understanding of making Turkey stronger and noting that the accomplished projects will be carried out in collaboration with the participation banks.

Experts estimate that Islamic finance currently manages the assets of $2 trillion globally, and that amount is projected to increase to $6.5 trillion by 2020.

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