Zakat's Potential Role in Accelerating Global Development Discussed at the United Nations

New York, November 16, 2012: International development leaders and experts highlighted the importance of Zakat in advancing global development at a forum titled "Linking Muslim Giving to the MDGs". The forum was co-hosted at the United Nations headquarters by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), The World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, and the UN Millennium Campaign.

"While some countries have made impressive gains in achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), others are falling behind. The Muslim world is no exception. Faith emphasizes building communities, sharing wealth and upholding the rights of the poor and marginalized. Faith-based giving such as Zakat which amounts to billions of dollars needs to be spent in more strategic and effective way to accelerate development in OIC member countries” stated Ambassador Ufuk Gokcen, the permanent observer of OIC at the United Nations, in his address.

Subject experts from UNDP, International Institute of Islamic Thought, Islamic Relief USA, and Kimse Yok Mu shed light on the potential role of faith based giving in improving lives and shared real examples from around the world of successful partnerships between faith based organizations and development agencies.

World Zakat Organization, an OIC affiliate body, was also showcased at the forum by its CEO, Dato Mat Hassan. The main focus of WZO activity will be eradication of poverty among the poor and needy on permanent basis through developing sustainable projects in the area of food security, human resource development in particular skill training and small and medium enterprises financing programs.

"This event is an effort in this direction. We need to examine the potential of Zakat, tailor out a development strategy in the context of local realities, and identify right regional and international partners”, said Dr. Tariq H. Cheema, the CEO of the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists.

Mr. Amir Dossal, the Chairman of Global Partnerships Forum and the former head of UN Office for Partnerships, in his closing remarks, stressed upon the transformation of traditional Muslim Giving into smart philanthropy to achieve long-term development objectives.