ISLAMIC finance will continue to play a key role in the challenging economic and financial environment, said Bank Negara Malaysia's governor, Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.
Zeti said despite the challenges, especially in the recent five years, Islamic finance has grown significantly.
Malaysia is currently the world leader in Islamic financing, making up about 30 per cent of the more than US$1 trillion (RM3.18 trillion) worth of global assets in Islamic finance.
"The important aspect of Islamic finance is, it contributes to economic growth and development. This is because all financial transactions must be supported by an underlying economic transaction so it has a close link to the economy.
"And it has built-in checks and balances, which also contributes to financial stability, therefore to its sustainability. And therein lies the inherent strength of Islamic finance."
Zeti said significant financing is being raised currently via sukuk provided by banks.
She said other types of financial institutions are also developing many new products and services in line with Islamic finance requirements.
Zeti was speaking to reporters after presenting scrolls to 146 graduates from the International Centre For Education In Islamic Finance (INCEIF) on Saturday.
The graduates are from INCEIF's three postgraduate programmes, namely PhD in Islamic Finance, Masters in Islamic Finance and Chartered Islamic Finance Professional (CIFP).
Among the graduates were students from Muslim-minority countries such as Canada, China, France and the United States.
Zeti said the objective of the programmes is to produce high calibre professionals for the global Islamic financial services industry.
INCEIF is the global university of Islamic finance. It was set up by Bank Negara in 2005, to strengthen the country's position as an international Islamic finance centre.
"Out of the 146 graduates, some 30 per cent were women and that is quite impressive. There are many initiatives taken by INCEIF and all of that will contribute to the development of Islamic finance."
The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) of Malaysia is taking initiatives to equip its staff with knowledge of Islamic finance, particularly those concerning taxation on Islamic finance business.
One of the graduates, Norlina Naem, who is an IRB staff, was fully sponsored for the CIFP programme.