(Muslims pray at the Jama Masjid (Grand Mosque) during Eid al-Fitr, in the old quarter of Delhi August 31, 2011. REUTERS/Vijay Mathur )

India’s Ministry of Minority Affairs has enlisted a Kuala Lumpur-based body to help develop Islamic endowments, or awqaf, aiming to mobilise a large pool of assets in a country that is home to one of the biggest Muslim populations in the world.

The World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation, which organises conferences and workshops on Muslim business around the world, will hold a roundtable later this year to discuss ways to improve management of India’s estimated 490,000 waqf properties.

Institutions such as the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank, Malaysia’s Hajj Pilgrim Fund and its largest state-owned fund manager Permodalan Nasional Bhd will attend the event, the WIEFF says.

Awqaf exist around the world, receiving donations from Muslims to operate social projects such as mosques, schools and welfare schemes. They have amassed huge holdings of real estate, commercial enterprises, cash, equities and other assets.