Aston Business School in Birmingham, UK launched an Islamic Finance and Business Centre – the first of its kind in Europe.

Aston Business School launches first Islamic finance centre in Europe

The Centre has been developed as a result of a £1.5 million grant from Dubai-based business Surgi-Tech and aims to establish Birmingham as the centre for Islamic finance in the UK. The largest financial gift on record for the University, it will be used to develop qualifications and advance research in the Islamic finance field.

To be named after the director of Surgi-Tech, the El Shaarani Centre for Islamic Finance and Business will develop a suite of qualifications on Islamic finance for 2010, including undergraduate, postgraduate, PhD and executive programmes. It will also continue with research into Islamic Finance and Shariah-compliant business, developing Islamic finance solutions for business and providing an advisory service to the government and the commercial sector.

Dr El Shaarani, CEO of Surgi Tech Group, Dubai, said: “We are honoured to sponsor a UK business school as prestigious as Aston and help to fund research that will explore the role of Islamic finance in the future global financial system. We believe that the creation of this centre will result in the development of new financial tools that will attract greater foreign investment to the West Midlands region. We look forward to continuing a prosperous relationship with Aston University.”

Dr Omneya Abdelsalam, Director of the Islamic Finance and Business Centre, Aston University, added: “We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Surgi-Tech Group for their generous support.

“With their assistance, Aston has established this Centre to meet the growing interest in Shariah-complaint finance across the world. Through the Centre, we will educate the next generation of Islamic economists and business leaders – both nationally and internationally. Our research will allow us to investigate how mainstream financial institutions can learn from Islamic finance practices in their recovery from and avoidance of the next global economic crisis. “

With the collapse of the conventional banking system, businesses have turned to the more conservative Islamic Finance approach, which doesn’t permit the sale of debts or interest and encourages the sharing of risks and rewards. The El Shaarani Centre for Islamic Finance and Business plans to exploit Birmingham’s large concentration of professional financial and legal services and culturally diverse business community to reposition the city as a centre for Islamic finance.

A suite of executive education programmes in Islamic finance will be launched by Aston Business School in summer 2010, followed by a Masters qualification in the subject in October. read more