The experience of Islamic banks in the Gulf states is the theme of a public forum due to be hosted by the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) in Muscat on August 21. The Executive President of the Central Bank of Oman, Hamoud Bin Sangour Al Zadjali, will preside over the forum. Also attending will be economists, market experts and representatives of leading banking and financial institutions. Since a decree was issued by Oman\'s ruler, Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed, in May opening up the banking sector to Sharia-compliant financial services, a number of local and regional banks have been taking steps to capitalise on what is widely billed as a potentially lucrative industry. Shedding light Article continues below A new bank dedicated to providing Islamic financial services is preparing to open its doors in the sultanate, while existing conventional banks are gearing to add Sharia-compliant products to their portfolio of services. The public forum is expected to shed light on steps being taken by the country\'s banking watchdog to introduce legislation regulating the sultanate\'s maiden foray into Islamic banking services.