Jakarta. Representatives of 16 countries will attend the 2017 World Zakat Forum, or WZF, in Jakarta on March 15-16.
The conference will seek to strengthen zakat – alms-giving, which for Muslims is a religious obligation.
WZF secretary general Ahmad Juwaini said the participants will discuss efforts to resolve socio-economic problems in the Muslim world as many a Muslim-majority countries suffer from poverty and hunger.
"The strategy to eradicate poverty in these countries will require the involvement of zakat. We hope there will be new solutions to stamp out poverty and famine within the Muslim world," Ahmad said in Jakarta on Tuesday (14/03).
WZF is a triennial conference that gathers people, also from non-Muslim countries, interested in zakat initiatives.
The International Conference of Zakat for Global Welfare was previously held in New York City on May 28-29, 2014.
The Jakarta event is expected to see representatives from Saudi Arabia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Morocco, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Sudan, Brunei Darussalam, Uganda, Nigeria, India, Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Cyprus.
Support for WZF
Minister of Religious Affairs Lukman Hakim Syaifuddin has confirmed that the ministry will participate in WZF.
The Indonesian government, according to Lukman, has paid great attention to the management of zakat across the country by issuing various regulations, including an obligation for state ministers to pay a higher zakat tax.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the National Zakat Agency (Baznas), Bambang Sudibyo, has said that zakat in Indonesia is one of the state's most vital instruments to relieve poverty.
"The 2017 WZF in Indonesia will be crucial for our national zakat management, to reassure the government and public on the benefits zakat brings to the society," Bambang said.
Indonesia hopes to collect Rp 6 trillion ($448 million) in zakat payments this year, a 20 percent increase from 2016.
According to the World Bank, around 1 percent of Indonesians, nearly 280,000 people, live under the poverty line.