By Muin Abdul Majid
DUBAI, Nov 5 (Bernama) — The international conference segment of the
third International Islamic Fair 2008 (IIF2008) to be held here from
Dec 23-25 promises to be a thought-provoking affair with the expected
participation of personalities such as Malaysia’s former prime minister
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as well as a survivor of the Sept 11, 2001
attack on New York’s World Trade Centre.
IIF chairperson Sabariah Abdullah said they would be joined by
other speakers at the conference which would discuss a variety of
issues affecting Muslims against the backdrop of developments such as
the global financial meltdown.
At a briefing yesterday, she said Dr Mahathir would address the closing
of IIF2008, billed as a “three-in-one, people-to-people” event held in
Malaysia in 2006 and 2007 before a decision was made to stage it in
Dubai this year.
Among those present at the press conference were the Malaysian
consul-general in Dubai Syed Mohamad Hasrin Tengku Hussin, trade
commissioner in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Noraslan Hadi Abdul
Kadir and Abdel Mon’em Osman, general manager of Hellix, the host
country organiser of IIF2008.
Besides the international conference, IIF2008 also comprises a trade
exhibition promoting Islamic products and services as well as a dinner
concert featuring renowned “nashid” (religious songs) artists such as
Raihan, Ahmed Bukathir and others.
Elaborating, Sabariah said the organisers would bring in, among
others, advocates of peace and better relations between Muslims and
other communities, promoters of technology and Islamic financial
experts to speak at the conference.
“I think the topics to be discussed at the business, economy and
finance session would be of attraction given the financial crisis we’re
witnessing now and what is happening to the mightiest of the mighty in
terms of the economy.
“Perhaps Islamic finance would be able to offer solutions to the
problems,” she said of what to be expected from the conference and
IIF2008 that will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
On the trade exhibition front, Sabariah said over 70 Malaysian
companies had confirmed their interest in taking part in IIF2008 to
date, expressing confidence that the 100-company target would be
achieved by the end of this month, joining other firms from around the
The exhibition will feature products and services in 25 categories,
including halal food and beverages, education, culture and arts,
jewellery, health, computer and electronics, banking and finance,
agriculture and energy.
She explained that Dubai was chosen as the first overseas venue of
IIF given its prominence and position as the hub of the Gulf region as
well as the Middle East.
Sabariah said the IIF would return to Kuala Lumpur in 2009 while the
Egyptian capital, Cairo, was in the running to host the 2010 edition of
IIF which aims to create of a united, prosperous and progressive Muslim
world living in harmony with peace-loving, good people of the world in
a well-informed, just and peaceful global village.
Mohamad Hasrin, the consul-general, lauded the convening of the IIF,
saying that it symbolised the connectivity between the government,
people and business community.
“I think this is very important because at the government level,
we can only do so much to provide the skeletal framework but the meat
has to come from the people and the business community,” he said.
He said IIF2008 was a good initiative in terms of offering Islamic
products and services to the global community and Muslims as well.
“It’s a good example of how the Muslim community is not a dormant
player in the world. We’re also an active player in the global
community as we continue to portray a good image of Islam,” said