Kazakhstan is known as the biggest Muslim majority country in the Central Asia region. The country which was purely secular country now is in the attempt to practice Islamic teaching more seriously by establishing Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA) last year (2016). The existence of MORA is also expected to boost utilization of Islamic socio-economic instrument including zakat and waqf. Regarding this, Puskas BAZNAS director, Irfan Syauqi Beik, and his wife Laily Dwi Arsyianti, who came to present her paper in an Islamic finance conference in Astana, pay official visit to Kazakhstan's MORA. The objective of this visit was to discuss three things.

Firstly, to introduce BAZNAS and the World Zakat Forum (WZF) to Kazakhstan government and to identify possible areas of collaboration between the two countries. Secondly, to exchange the information and sharing of experience between the two countries, and thirdly, to extend invitation to join the WZF Conference in 2018 that will be held in Sarajevo, Bosnia on March-April and in Bali on October. In this meeting, Irfan was accompanied by Torang Pakpahan (The First Secretary of the Indonesian Embassy in Astana) and Assem (Local Staff of the Indonesian Embassy).

The Indonesian delegates were received by Bauyrzhan Esmakhan (Head of Committee of Religious Affairs of MORA), who was accompanied by Askhat Baizanof (MORA's Head of Waqf Institution) and Zhanibet Darkhanbayev (MORA's Chief of Expert). The discussion that took almost 1.5 hours was very productive. A number of plans will be followed up by the two countries. It is expected that the two countries will play bigger role, especially in optimizing zakat and waqf instruments that will benefit the entire ummah.

(puskasbaznas.com)