Indonesia is expected to become a major Shariah financial center in near future, said Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the opening of the 5th World Islamic Economic Forum in Jakarta on Monday.
"As the country with the world's largest Muslims, blessed with dynamic economic potentials, we envision Indonesia to become a major Shariah financial center in the near future," he said, adding that he invited all participants to come and invest in this prospective sector.
The president said that the Shariah banking, which is Islamic banking, should now be able to take a leadership position in the banking world, because it has been much less affected by the financial meltdown than the conventional banks, as it was not less involved in investing in toxic assets and in leveraged funds.
"Indeed, last year Indonesia established and finalized a sound and strong legal framework for the issuance of Shariah based bond (sukuk), and Shariah banking system. Happily, since then the development of Shariah banking has been very encouraging, and the issuance of our domestic retail sukuk has been well received," he said.
Yudhoyono also suggested that Islamic bankers should do some missionary work in the Western world to promote the concept of Shariah banking, saying that "many in the West are more than ready now (for the system)."