International Zakat Organization (IZO) announced today its partnership with the prestigious BMB Group to establish and co-manage a multi-billion Global Zakat and Charity Fund. In his address at the signing ceremony, the Honourable Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Minister in the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Department and Chairman of the Board of Directors of IZO, said, “The purpose of IZO is to uphold Zakat as a tool for economic development, social Takaful, the enhancement of solidarity and the promotion of cooperation between Muslim communities and countries around the world, especially for the sake of Ummah.
The Global Zakat and Charity Fund will offer us the required transparency in operations and financial expertise for the management of funds.” He further added that “Every Muslim should take into consideration the fact that the whole Muslim nation, both individuals and governments, has the responsibility to solve the collective crises of poverty, corruption and inequality suffered by millions of Muslims throughout the Islamic World. The only way to solve these crises is through the duty of Zakat. The implementation of Zakat will be in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah. We will see how a properly implemented system can solve the current economic problems of not just Muslims, but of the whole world.”
The proposed Fund will manage Zakat and other charitable funds to alleviate poverty in the member committees of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (“OIC”). “It is a long-awaited initiative,” said Dr Humayon Dar, CEO of BMB Islamic, a subsidiary of The BMB Group. “There has been inevitably a huge emphasis on Shari’a compliance in Islamic banking and finance, but the announcement of a Global Zakat and Charity Fund is the beginning of a new Islamic financial trend which favours social responsibility and community development.”
OIC has 57 member states of which some have already committed themselves to IZO and its various initiatives. In addition to co-managing the fund, The BMB Group will assist in involving the remaining governments in this special project. The expected size of the fund will be Two Billion Malaysian Ringgit in the current calendar year. Mr. Mohammad Hassan Esa, Managing Director and CEO of IZO, who has played a pioneering role in establishing the IZO, was thrilled by the prospect of contributing to poverty alleviation among poor Muslim communities. He commented “Zakat is a tool that can single-handedly eradicate poverty not only from the Muslim world but from the entire world. The only condition is that we collect and manage the funds efficiently. The Global Zakat and Charity Fund is a step towards achieving that efficiency.”
The proposed fund will be co-managed by the IZO and The BMB Group, which benefits from Shari’a advisory and structuring capabilities of BMB Islamic. BMB Islamic was recently voted voted the Best Shari’a Advisory Firm for the year 2008 at the IFN Awards. The fund will invest in community development projects with an emphasis on sustainability. The three major areas to be targeted are: (1) income generation through the provision of affordable financing to small and medium enterprises; (2) development of social enterprise through the establishment of hospitals, educational institutions and housing associations; and (3) the provision of relief and emergency funding.
Rayo Salahadin Withanage, Chairman and CEO of The BMB Group commented, “The BMB Groups lead role in this initiative reinforces our heart found commitment to Islamic communities around the world. At this juncture in history where the world faces serious economic challenges, it is important for Muslims around the world to unite behind the common good of helping with the social, economic and environmental challenges that face our planet. We are delighted to be part of the IZO initiative.”
Source: BMB/UpStream Asia 24.02.2009