Speech by Farouk Abdullah Alwyni,Chairman of CISFED during the Launcing of CISFED in the Financial Club, NiagaTower,
Jakarta, 11 February 2009
Dear all brothers and sisters,
Praise be to Allah,the al-Mighty that enables us all to get together here to attend the launchingof a new Jakarta-based think tank, Center for Islamic Studies in Finance, Economics, and Development (CISFED) and at the same time the launching of a new Islamic Economics related book, the Shariah Accounting.
On the book, my colleague, Br. Dedi later will inform you further. Here, I would like to share with you about CISFED, why it is established? What will be its activities? And who are the people behind the CISFED?
We are now witnessing a major historical event affecting the world economy, starting fromthe United States, Europe, and now going all over the world to Asia and Africa. Analysts comment that the current crisis affecting the US is the worst crisi sever since the Great Depression in 1934, a number of major companies went bankrupt, disappeared (being acquired), and got government bailed-out.
The problems affecting the world economy to some extent is the clasical problems of boom and bust. It shows that the challenges facing the world economy are there, stay also with the developed economies. This kind of crisis at the end will always make difficult for developing countries that have their own internal challenges.
We are in Indonesia now, as an important part of the Moslem World, have a lot to learn. In this connection, it is also interesting to see how in finding ways to formulate a response, the US State of Treasury goes to the extent showing an interest tolearn more about Islamic Finance. It shows that the crisis has promted the quest for an alternative system.
Actually, the needs to have a different approach of development have been discussed for sometime in the West, the issues such as sustainable development, global warming, more social justice, the problems with the fiat money & interest, income discrepancy within country and regions have captured the attention of many world best universities in the West.
Here, developing countries like Indonesia, which has much more challenges, need to learn carefully from the problems still lingering in the West and how to benefit from that and formulate an appropriate response to come up with a better solution toits own development problems.
In view of the above, we feel the need to establish CISFED. We aim to make a CISFED as a social-economic laboratory who can reconcile our faith and science, particularly social sciencein the area of finance, economics, and development, to come up with a relevant response facing the world economy in general, and the problems ofunder-development and backwardness in particular.
We have been talking about Islam as a solution for sometime, but we have not done enough work to translate the message of Islam into an actual concept relevant to be applied in the today world. As a way of life, Islam was transforming the traditional six century Arab tribes into a great nation capable of contributing to the advancement ofthe world civilization. It was this civilization that gave a significant contribution to the Western renaissance & humanism.
So, here, with the historical awareness of our past, CISFED would like to infus intellectual,moral and spiritual spirit of Islam into the modern concept of finance,economics, and development. CISFED believes that the divine values would humanize the “cold concept” of finance and economics. CISFED sees that there is a reinforcing mechanism between ethics and finance, job and growth, goodgovernance and progress, service and excellence.
Finance within Islamic perspective would mean fair dealing and prosperity for all, economic within Islamic perspective would mean more social justice without sacrificing individual economic liberty, and development within an Islamic perspective would mean creation of service-oriented bueracracy, the ease of doing business,minimum tax, establishment of rule of law, and clean government, which at theend, these all would contribute to the prosperity and progress of the nation.
The founder of CISFED coming from a variety of background from practitioners to academics, but all are united by one common denominator, that they are all former student activists, who see that the struggle for the establishment of a better society whois more caring, human, just and prosperous is still continuing, that the ten year democracy, which the country has, has not been translated into real improvement of the quality of live and the standard of living of the majority of the people.
Our small step inthe above direction is creating a platform for research and intellectual discussion. However, we intend to make our research not for the sake of the research, but the research that can benefit the people, the same could be said for our future intellectual discussion, that should not be just for an intellectual recreation, but also that should be able to be translated into recommended policies for the decision makers.
We believe aresearch-based Islamic policy discussion is badly needed in today world, and CISFED is prepared to contribute in this area.
Later on, we would like to see also your participation in our center, let’s make our center as the intellectual center for change, change for the betterment of Indonesia and the World, changefor a more comprehensive approach to development, change that can make economics more real, more related to the improvement of the quality of life ofthe people.
Finally, I thank you all for taking the time to come, I belive that you are all part of the community of the ideas, the community of the great people who talk about ideas.
May Allah bless us all !