NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 10 – Kenya Commercial Bank has denied claims that female journalists were mistreated during the launch of its Islamic banking product at a Nairobi hotel on Thursday.
The bank says no journalists were forced to wear Islamic attire to the event nor were they barred from covering the launch.
“KCB Group respects the freedom of expression, gender equality and the right to religion as enshrined in the Kenyan Constitution,” the bank said on Friday in a statement posted on its website.
The statement comes after claims that journalists who refused to wear the Islamic attire were either turned away or advised to seat at the back of the room. There were also complaints that female journalists were not allowed to ask questions and were instead advised to hand over their questions to their male colleagues.
However the bank says this is untrue but admitted to having observed some of the Islamic customs without forcing anyone.
“The observation of Muslim customs during the launch of the Sahal Islamic Banking product launch was not intended as an offensive gesture but as a token of tolerance in the true Kenyan spirit of embracing all cultures,” the bank said.
The KCB Sahal Banking is a Shariah compliant bank account that is designed in accordance with banking standards sensitive of Muslim customers who adhere to the Islamic faith.
“We remain committed as the preferred financial services provider in Africa anchored in trust, respect and tolerance for all our customers irrespective of their religious beliefs.”
The product prohibits the giving or receiving of interest and ensures that money is invested ethically in accordance with the Islamic faith but which targets Muslims and non-Muslims.
For a start, KCB will roll out the Islamic Banking products in six of its branches as ahead of a national roll-out.