Purpose - This study examines social reporting by Islamic banks with special emphasis on themes related to social justice. By using critical theory and "immanent critique", the study attempts to explain and delineate reasons for disclosures and silences in Islamic banks' annual reports and web sites vis-a-vis social justice.
Design/methodology/approach - The approach taken was a content analysis of annual reports and web sites of 19 Islamic banks.
Findings - Islamic banks' disclosures emphasise their religious character through claims that they adhere to Sharia's teachings. Their disclosures, however, lack specific or detailed information regarding schemes or initiatives vis-a-vis poverty eradication or enhancing social justice.
Research limitations/implications - Limitations associated with content analysis of annual reports and internet web sites apply. This study focuses on Islamic banks' social roles. Further studies of banks' social roles in society in general are of interest.
Practical implications - Drawing attention of Islamic banks and other stakeholders to the gap between the rhetorical religious and ethical claims of Islamic banks and their activities (as depicted through their disclosures) opens up the possibility of a positive change in Islamic banks' actual social roles.
Originality/value - The study fills a gap in both social accounting and Islamic accounting literatures with its emphasis on social justice and poverty eradication. The study contributes to the very scarce literature linking religion (especially Islam), critical theory, social accounting and Islamic accounting. It goes beyond previous research in Islamic accounting literature by exposing contradictions in the Islamic banking industry's rhetoric regarding their social role in society.
- Social justice
- Islamic banks
- Islamic accounting and reporting
- Poverty eradication
- Immanent critique
- Content analysis