Lebanon’s Central Bank suggested on Tuesday that Islamic banks will need more time before they can operate fully in Lebanon, The Daily Star reported Wednesday.
Addressing more than 350 participants at a conference on Islamic financial institutions at the Phoenicia InterContinental Hotel, Salameh, the Lebanese Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh made it clear that more work needed to be done to pave the way for Islamic banks in Lebanon.
“The nature of work between Islamic and conventional banks makes us a bit cautious in order to preserve the stability in our banking system and to safeguard the money of the clients in our financial markets,” Salameh told the participants, the paper said.
However, he also stressed that the Central Bank was seriously considering several laws that would allow Islamic banks to operate in the country.
Several Islamic banks have requested permission from the Central Bank of Lebanon to open branches in the country for fully-fledged Islamic banking, the daily said, noting that this demand operates according to principles of Sharia law, prohibiting interest-based transactions and any involvement with pork, alcohol and gambling.
But the Central Bank and the Association of Banks in Lebanon said that allowing Islamic banks to operate in the country would require a change in the money and credit law of the Central Bank.
The Central Bank has so far allowed commercial banks to offer certain types of Islamic banking services to their clients.
With $10 billion of capital worldwide, Islamic banks have more than $170 billion of assets – Albawaba.com