Dubai Int'l Conference for Awqaf examines global institutional endowment funds experiencesApr 23, 2012 - 08:47 -
WAM Dubai International Conference for Awqaf 2012 Examines Global Institutional Experiences in the Field of Endowment Funds Dubai-UAE: 23 April, 2012 - "The true meaning of waqf differs among Muslims.
In Austria, the primary objective of waqf is to increase the level of understanding and cooperation between Muslims and non-Muslims," according to Dr Bauer Wolfgang, Deputy Director, Austrian Endowments.
Dr Wolfgang's comments came on day-two of the Dubai International Conference for Awqaf 2012. The session titled �International institutional experiences in the field of endowment funds' saw experts highlighting global case studies in the endowment space. Panellists on this segment included Ahmad Hamdi , Hidayat Awqaf Establishment; Turkey, Sharqawi Muhammad, a representative from Awqaf, Federal Government of Malaysia; Eng. Husain Bin Younis, Secretary General, Awqaf Establishment, New Zealand, and Rafi-uddin Shoki, Manager, Dinar Standard, US.
Focusing on the endowment experience in Austria, Dr Bauer Wolfgang added: "The waqf in Austria was founded by Anas Schakfeh, President of the Islamic Council. The relatively new waqf's main purpose is to provide principles and values to the Muslim community in Austria. In addition, it also caters to their educational and social needs." Elaborating on Turkey's experience in endowments in the region, Ahmad Hamdi said: "In Turkey, we have not limited the concept of waqf to our domestic borders. Our organisation dates back to nearly four decades ago. In Azerbaijan, we have built and developed over 43 mosques, as well as new educational facilities to accommodate over 5,000 students." Sharqawi Mohammad deliberated on the endowment experience in Malaysia. He said: "Malaysia has three main waqfs: State Islamic Religious Council (SIRC), JAWHAR and YWM. The Malaysian waqf fulfils four important criteria - the intention of the waqf, optimise benefits for recipients, optimise profits from economic projects, and ensure the sustainable development of waqf. Some of our projects include schools, mosques, residential complexes and bazaars." Case studies from New Zealand and US were also shared by Eng. Husain Bin Younis and Rafi-uddin Shoki respectively.
Eng. Hussain Bin Younis said: "We are based in Auckland. There are about 50,000 Muslims in New Zealand as well as two Muslim schools. The value of our waqf is around AED300-million. Our revenue comes from the halal meat industry through meat exports and wool exports." Rafi-uddin Shoki, on his part, said: "The US has approximately 6.7 million American Muslims with over 2,000 mosques. Community centres and Islamic schools are one of the biggest requirements in the country. We have a total of 43,000 students and over 350 Islamic schools. The main waqf in the US is run by the Islamic Society of North America." The Dubai International Conference for Awqaf 2012 opened on 22 April at The Ritz-Carlton. The event has brought together experts from over 20 countries, including thought leaders from the Sharia and conventional law sectors, as well as the science and economics disciplines.
The opening session at the conference saw speakers from the UAE, Canada, Egypt and Libya presenting papers on subjects such as access and restriction to legal and social services, as well as endowment funds by waqf institutions.
The second session on day-one highlighted success stories from endowment funds in Jordan, Syria, South Africa, and Algeria. Issues regarding endowment beneficiaries and related legal standards as well as the importance of waqf for women and its role in social development were some of the topics that were reviewed. Offering examples of historical jurisprudence, panellists additionally highlighted the current waqf and local community institutional practices.
The final session on day-one saw experts from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon debating on the standards used for measuring the quality of waqf institutions. Additionally, the synergy between endowment funds and their investment, and the associated risks from a banking perspective were brought under review.
Earlier today, day-two of the conference, looked into obstacles and challenges facing endowment funds. Featuring participants from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Sudan, the experience of Arab institutions in endowment funds was additionally highlighted.
Noor Islamic Bank and Emirates Islamic Bank supported DICA 2012 as platinum sponsors, while Dubai Islamic Bank participated as the gold sponsor.