Shared values on a global basis


For a number of years now, I have been on the board of trustees of the RFI Foundation Pte Ltd, indeed I was a founding member.

In our formative years, we were largely a group of Islamic finance people who were trying hard to get our message across to a wider audience. Attempting to in- crease acceptance of Islamic finance and break down many of the misconceptions about the subject matter. Myths such as “It’s for Muslims only” and “It’s just another source of terrorist financing”.

In the intervening years, many barriers have been broken down and the RFI Foundation has gained great traction around the world because it has broken down many of the myths and gained acceptance from people of many faiths and practices.

The alignment of the Maqasid Al Shariah with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for example, has allowed people to come together on the basis of “shared values”. It has taken time, but with persistence, dialogue and good faith, many barriers have been broken down already and there are new rallying cries being heard around the globe based on these shared values.

I, myself, have been moved by these shared values. Not just through my work at the RFI Foundation, but also the work I have done with many colleagues through International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the Gateway Islamic Advisory LLP, where I am now a partner. The shared values have brought us together in a spirit of harmony, action and creating sustainable impact.

I have been fortunate to see this new spirit in action. The recently concluded Global Islamic Economy Summit was an excellent example of youthful collaboration and shared values. With over 2,500 delegates from over 80 countries, the entire Islamic economy week held in Dubai was a resounding success in my view.

Why say this? Well for a start, there was good gender balance, something that does tend to get overlooked far too often. In addition, most of the participants and panellists were from a much younger
generation than mine.

This was indeed refreshing as one could literally touch the energy. The sharing of stories and experience from all corners of the world and from many different walks of life from within the Islamic economy was not just refreshing, but has led to immediate action.

Dynamic slack and WhatsApp groups have been created. Initiatives kicked off and followed through in a virtual world, and most importantly of all, a common sharing of shared values was displayed by hundreds of people in the common interest. Leaders became followers. Followers became leaders.

Perhaps, the most important message regarding these shared values that hit home for me, was that this was done on a global basis, to solve the challenges the world has. This was not done on the basis of
my country is better than yours or my bank is bigger than your bank. It was done in the true spirit of collaboration and friendship. Long may that continue. We do not have time for such petty squabbles.

As humanity, we have many, many challenges. However, we do, perhaps, have many more shared values than perhaps some of our leaders would like us to believe.

What shone through in Dubai, earlier this month, is that there is hope, there is strength of purpose, new leaders are picking up the reins of power and using them for a common purpose through our shared values and our shared humanity. Our younger generation gives us much hope for the future. You have my unqualified support.

As ever there is much to do and not a moment to lose.

  • Daud Vicary Abdullah, the MD of DVA Consulting Sdn Bhd, is a former Islamic banker and immediate past president/CEO of Malaysian-based university INCEIF. The views expressed are of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the stand of the newspaper’s owner and editorial board.