In April, Zafar Yunus Sareshwala, a Mumbai-based entrepreneur, will be one of the six Indians who will join US President Barack Obama at a summit at Washington DC to discuss ways to deepen ties between US entrepreneurs and Muslim communities around the globe.
The idea of the summit, which will be held on April 26 and 27, was first suggested by Obama during his speech at Cairo in June last year. The summit aims at providing a platform to build partnership between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the US and Muslim communities around the world, to help create economic opportunities.
Sareshwala (46), a pioneer in the field of Islamic finance in India has been instrumental in promoting Islamic investment opportunities. His company, Parsoli Investments and Trading Company Pvt. Ltd, helps Muslims invest money in accordance with Islamic principles and Shari’ah (Islamic law).
“You have been chosen among a field of many highly qualified applicants and nominees because you have distinguished yourself as a leader and a pioneer,” reads the letter issued to Sareshwala, on January 8, 2010, by the US embassy on behalf of the President’s office inviting him for the summit.
At Parsoli, Sareshwala has developed alternate financial investment plans for Muslims who refrained from investing their money in the stock market, banks and other plans that generated a high degree of interest income. Earning interest is prohibited in Islam because it is viewed as exploitation.
Parsoli Corporation, however, was badly hit during 2002 communal riots in Gujarat. Their Gujarat offices and house was looted and burnt causing huge monetary loss to him. “At that time, instead of succumbing to the circumstances and declaring bankruptcy, I made a conscious decision to get out of the victim-centric mentality and try hard to recover from the situation,” said Sareshwala, who will head for Washington in the last week of April.