Islamic finance as a tool for social justice

Ashley Freeman, partner of Gateway welcoming the audience during the evening session jointly organised by IIFC – Gateway

On  10 September 2018, a member of our law firm, Izwan Zakaria attended the Islamic Finance News (IFN) Forum in Istanbul Turkey. The event was jointly organised by the Istanbul Islamic Finance Consultancy (IIFC) and Gateway LLP (Gateway) in Istanbul, Turkey.

Gateway is an international Islamic consultancy consisting of leading Shariah practitioners which are multi-jurisdictional and multi-disciplinary. Gateway offers advisory services globally. The firm’s founding partner, Siti Zurina Sabarudin is one of the consultants based in Malaysia.

A day before the conference, a reception was jointly organised by IIFC and Gateway. In a welcoming remark by Ashley Freeman,  a partner at Gateway, he spoke about the newly established IIFC which is set to be a key-player in Turkey’s economic flagship project “Istanbul International Financial Center” due to be formally opened in 2019. Both IIFC and Gateway will be cooperating closely to assist clients already operating in the Islamic economy as well as new clients wishing to enter the sector.

During the conference, the panelists discussed on the future of Islamic finance. Key issues discussed ranges on addressing social justice and how Islamic finance can empower humanity.  The panelists agreed that the focus should go beyond on broadening Islamic economy and not just narrowly defined scope of Islamic finance.

The speakers raised the issue on improving ways on how Islamic instruments such as waqf (Islamic endowment), zakat (charitable alm) and sukuk (Islamic finance certificate/bond) can help improve lives. In the evening, during a key note speech by Daud Vicary Abdullah, a well respected Islamic finance leader with over 45 years experience based in Malaysia, Daud Vicary spoke about how funds raised through the zakat mechanism in a small state of Perlis can make a real and lasting difference to help Kenyan farmers suffering from extreme drought.  The case study of Kitui County’s 2017 ‘Ndengu Revolution’ was discussed during the panel session afterward by Abbas Gullet, Secretary General of Kenya Red Cross.

Daud Vicary Abdullah, a prominent Islamic finance practitioner and Izwan Zakaria, a member of Zurinalaw

Interestingly, many speakers mentioned and praised Malaysia repeatedly for its forward thinkingness in revamping its regulatory framework many years ago to promote the adoption of Islamic banks. These included encouraging the use of Islamic instruments in finance such as sukuk and Shariah compliance instruments in financing projects. However, the panelists also suggested that there may have been certain plateau over the years as to the future of Islamic finance and whether it should be broaden to also consider Islamic economy as a whole.

According to IIFC, the event is the largest Islamic finance event organised in Turkey in recent years.

On a side note, our associate had also completed a two days’ programme, ‘Foundation Certificate in Islamic Finance Practice’ held by IIFC – Gateway.


Gateway is a global ethical-Islamic professional services firm with more than 40 advisers in 18 countries. More information about Gateway can be found at 

IIFC is a comprehensive professional services firm headquartered in Istanbul. IIFC provides a broad range of services across four key business disciplines in Islamic finance. More information about IIFC can be found at

If you would like any further information or need advice on Islamic finance matters, please contact our please contact our law firm at +03-76245215, or e-mail at