Dubai Reveals 1st Virtual Charity Institution

As part of its contribution to the ‘Dubai 10X’ initiative, which aims to place Dubai 10 years ahead of other cities, the Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department, in corporation with Dubai Future Foundation, has developed two artificial intelligence (AI) projects – the‘ Virtual Charity Foundation’ and ‘Virtual Ifta’.

The ‘Virtual Charity Foundation’ is the world’s first charity institution that allows donations to be routed directly from donor to beneficiary with the use of AI and blockchain technology. The second initiative, ‘Virtual Ifta’, is a platform that uses an ‘artificial intelligence expert system’ – a computer system that emulates the decision-making ability of a human expert –  and ‘big data technology’ to streamline the process of disseminating fatwas.

Through the two projects, the Department seeks to create a flexible and intelligent environment to enhance charitable activities; strengthen the Department’s efforts to deliver and document ‘fatwas’; and serve the community through innovative services.

The projects are two among several ‘Dubai 10X’ proposals launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai and Chairman of DFF’s Board of Trustees, at the 6th World Government Summit held in Dubai in February 2018.

HE Dr. Hamad bin Al Shaikh Ahmed Al Shaibani, Director General of the Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department, said: “As part of its participation in the Dubai 10X initiative, the Department has developed interactive smart platforms using advanced artificial intelligence technologies to enhance philanthropy and create a new method for delivering fatwas. These projects are in line with the Dubai Government’s objective of promoting innovation in all sectors to enable Dubai to establish global leadership in shaping the future.”

The ‘Virtual Charity Foundation’ is a global charity platform that utilises blockchain and artificial intelligence technologies to facilitate direct communication between the donor and beneficiary, thus eliminating the need for counterparties and significantly reducing waiting periods for the beneficiary. The initiative aims to protect the identity of beneficiaries as well as open new ways for community groups from around the world to search and identify charitable aid opportunities. The initiative also allows beneficiaries to submit cases for review remotely through artificial intelligence applications. 

The ‘Virtual Ifta’, which is supported by an ‘Expert System’, an advanced AI-integrated software, aims to facilitate a more instant experience and reduce duplications by removing the need for muftis to repeat answers for the same questions. The platform also allows muftis to instantly answer a vast range of queries posed by millions of people around the world.

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