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Sharia Depositors’ Funds May Be Haram

News From : DagangHalal.com (26 Mar 2010)

A discussion at Nahdlatul Ulama’s (NU) 32nd national congress in Makassar, South Sulawesi, ended Thursday with a conclusion that Sharia banks in Indonesia had yet to provide fully ‘halal’ fund management.

A young scholar who was also the deputy head of the contemporary religious issues deliberation division at NU headquarters, Cholil Nafisia, said Islamic institutions in Indonesia still lacked ability to verify funds managed by Sharia banks.

“It’s still possible that the funds of Sharia banks’ depositors are managed or invested in ‘haram’ ways,” Cholil said during a meeting at Makassar’s Sudiang haj dormitory.

Depositors usually did not realize this, he said, as the initial process of the investment generally appeared halal.

“When a depositor first makes the [transaction deal] to invest funds at a Sharia bank, everything will look fine and ‘halal’.

“The mess will happen after that, when the bank invests the funds into various investment schemes,” he said.

A sharia investment will not benefit its customer with interest. Sharia banks invest the funds in the stock market and share only a certain percentage of the profits with customers.

Each Sharia bank implements unique methods of sharing and profit calculation, making it harder for Muslims to determine whether the funds are really managed accordingly.

Once a single rupiah of a fund is invested in a haram business, the entire investment of a particular depositor would be haram, Cholil said.

“That’s why it’s hard to supervise all of the investing processes.”

Cholil suggested that the NU play a significant role in tackling such issues.

“Make more ulema into auditors and make more auditors become ulema,” he said.

“I have asked the auditors association and they confirmed that only a small number of auditors in Indonesia were skilled in auditing Sharia investments,” he said.

Cholil refused to comment if banks only used the label “Sharia” to attract customers.

Bagus B.T. Saragih, The Jakarta Post, Makassar

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