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ICRS Yogyakarta - Theses Information: Perceptions of Islamic Banking among Muslim and Christian Youths

Consortium of:

Perceptions of Islamic Banking among Muslim and Christian Youths

This dissertation examines the perception of young Muslims and Christians toward Islamic Banking in Indonesia. In this study, I explore their responses to Islamic banking; how they perceive the notion of interest free based system implemented in Islamic finance institution, and what are the main factors affecting their perceptions. My research interviewed both Islamic banking customers and non-customers from two distinct and separate communities. Utilizing a qualitative research methodology, this study is based on semi-structured interviews with some informants. This research project links the young Muslim opinion toward Islamic banking within the Neo-Revivalist ideology, which believes Islam is a comprehensive religion that offers a solution to all problems of life. Some informants argue that to be an Islamic banking customer is an indication of Muslim identity and piety. Conversely, the other informants who invlove with interfaith community (YIPC) states that to be an Islamic bank customer is neither relevant to either piety nor to religious identity, except in a symbolical way. The commercialization of Islam bank using faith and religious symbols did not affect YIPC members to be or not to be its customers. They can be categorized as rational or critical consumers who do not fanaticize in one kind of banking system even the symbols of faith are being used to implement Islamic banking products. Additionally, most Christian informants stated that the Islamic banking system as a usury-free based system that has relevance to the teachings of Bible which prohibits the taking of usury in every economic transaction. They also have a positive impression toward the regulations of Islamic banking (The Act No. 21 of 2008 on Islamic Banking) in Indonesia without connecting it to the Islamization movement. However, some Muslim and Christian young people are not sure whether Islamic banks implement usury-free based system as revealed by both the Quran and the Bible or not. They stated that Islamic bank and conventional bank are similar in their practices. So far, the Islamic banking system still puts too much focus on the Arabic terms that are related to the system. The term sharia, Arabic terms and Islamic symbols should be reduced, so the ideas or values of Islam can be understood by non-Muslims. Some other opinions about Islamic banking addressed by Muslim and Christian youths are not in the gist of Islamic banking. The lack of knowledge about the concept of usury in many Christian traditions; and Islamic banking and conventional banking work just as well if the knowledge on how the funds are managed in Islamic banks has created an unavoidable problem. Informants also, have not enough time to experience the transaction activity of Islamic bank. Their perception about Islamic banking is delivered based on public information circulating in the mass media or by informal discussion.

Key Words: Sharia Banking, Interest Free System, Riba, Neo-Revivalism, Commodification of Religion, Economy, Christian and Muslim Youth