June 2, 2004
US Treasury appoints adviser on Islamic finance
The Muslim Public Affairs Council has welcomed the appointment of Mahmoud El-Gamal, an economics professor at Rice University in Texas, as the principal adviser on Islamic finance to senior Treasury officials to boost understanding of Islamic banking.
The appointment of Mahmoud El-Gamal, on June 2, 2004, follows concerns after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that terrorist financiers could be using Islamic institutions such as banks, charities or informal money brokers to move, store or launder funds destined for militant attacks.
MPAC Executive Director, Salam Al-Marayati said he hoped Gamal's appointment would help iron out some of the problems faced by Islamic groups in the post-Sept. 11 era. "We welcome the appointment. This is a positive response to our call for the Bush administration to appoint American Muslims to policy-making positions in government," he said.
"With the recent growth of the Islamic finance industry, deeper understanding of Islamic finance is a priority for this administration," Undersecretary for International Affairs John Taylor said in a statement.
Since the Sept. 11, attacks, the Treasury has sought to dry up the sources of terrorism funding, moving to bloc the assets of more than 300 groups and people -- many of them Muslim -- believed to have committed, threatened or supported terrorism.
Many Muslim groups feel they have been singled out for scrutiny by U.S. officials, including the Treasury, since the Sept. 11 attacks and some charities have accused the government of staging a "witch hunt" against them.
Treasury said Gamal would conduct workshops for U.S. government agencies on Islamic finance, including overviews of the industry, prudent supervision and regulation, accounting standards, government practices and debt management.
Gamal has previously worked as an economist at the International Monetary Fund and taught at the University of Wisconsin, California Institute of Technology and the University of Rochester. (Agencies)