The ICUC Project

Our Goals

To establish a viable, competitive and risk responsive financial service cooperative institution (a Credit Union) for and owned by the Muslim community, which will provide financial products and services carefully and professionally designed to cater for your current and future financial well-being and prosperity in accordance with the tenets of Shariah.
You will be an associate and compatriot, based on transparency that nurtures utmost trust and faith, through which we will provide contemporary financial solutions and leadership in quality financial products and services for your unique needs.

You are not a customer but a co-owner.


Our Pledges

We assure sound risk management to effectively compete in the marketplace. We meet the financial services needs of our members through the observance of the fundamental ethics of Shariah.
Our philosophy is to steward public trust by ensuring strategic and efficient use of public resources, and meeting the highest standards in the provision of financial services.


Our Objectives

  • To provide financial services to our members in line with the Islamic principles of fair, simple and straight forward profit & loss sharing approach through various investment strategies.
  • To facilitate an environment for members to earn Halal income.
  • To ease financing and ownership of property (home, vehicle & other approved tangible assets) in line with Islamic principles through a team of proven financial advisors, insightful and experienced brokers, and seasoned and expert developers.
  • To strengthen the economic base of Muslims and the Ontario economy through the pooling of members’ financial resources in order to create wealth on a large scale through diversified income earning investments.
  • To assist in the performance of certain communal social & religious obligations for Muslim members, as is necessary and feasible, such as Zakah and the Holy pilgrimage.
  • To encourage the participation of those strictly religious community members who would otherwise not participate in the local, regional and national economic activities at all, or will participate only very minimally.
  • To establish feasible joint venture or partnership with our members and associated businesses.
  • To create a community-wide broader platform for financially supporting Muslim businesses and individuals.
  • To enhance members’ childrens’ future by providing scholarships for their education.
  • To create an environment to harness the financial cooperation and growth of all the Islamic Centres
  • To operate a financial institution that will facilitate members keeping their financial resources outside the interest-based system.


Our Features

  • Democratic Member Control: Credit Unions, as Cooperatives are democratic organizations owned and controlled by their members, one member one vote, with equal opportunity for participation in setting policies and making decisions.
  • Members’ Economic Participation: Members are the credit union’s owners. As such they contribute to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. This benefits members in proportion to the general usage and transactions with the cooperative rather than on the capital invested, enabling credit unions, to typically offer better rates, fees and service than for-profit financial institutions.
  • Education and Training: Credit unions place particular importance on educational opportunities for their volunteer planning team, directors, and staff, and for the financial education of their members, associated businesses and the general public. Credit unions also recognize the importance of ensuring the general public and policy makers are informed about the nature, structure and benefits of cooperatives as well as members’ businesses in general.
  • Community Well-being: While focusing on member’s needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities, including people of modest means, through policies developed and accepted by their members. These principles are founded in the philosophy of cooperation and its central values of equality, equity and mutual self-help.
  • Giving back to the community: financial approaches such as payments of dividends to members upholds the principles of giving some benefits accrued by the Credit Union back to the community.


Our Journey and progress

For months prior to actual commencement, preliminary researches and information gathering were conducted by discussing with corporate lawyers, Central1 (the then director being Dorothy Watson), and the management of the defunct Croatian Credit Union to determine the feasibility of having an Islamic Credit Union.

The main reason of such a financial institution was the provision of financial services to members who conduct their lives and businesses in accordance with the tenets of Shariah as well as those people who are not bankable in the traditional sense of the word.

It is a financial institution for people of close affinity and bond to run their financial affairs communally and collectively.

Work started in earnest in 2011 and the community was approached, information sessions and presentations were conducted, meetings held, a planning team and steering committee formed and work on the business plan was commenced.
This initiative, a proposed Islamic Credit Union, featured as a sole project under the sponsorship of Al Mukarram Islamic Mission and Cooperation, which is an Ontario Province registered not for profit corporation with registration # 1771320.
It was registered since 2008 with the sole purpose of promoting cooperation among Muslims, Muslim mosques and centres, as well as Muslim businesses.
Apart from the credit union initiative, it also features a mini Zakah project to help especially businesses impacted by the COVID-19.

In 2013 the draft business plan was discussed in a meeting with the regulators to determine the exact capital requirement. An amount of between $4M and $10M was discussed, however, they provided no specific capital requirement. Rather it was dependent on the circumstances of each case. The regulators advised that we would need some help from professional consultants since it was not their job to act as consultants for us.

A team of consultants was engaged in 2014 and we met them with about 40 people comprising the planning team and other members of the community in 2015 at the Anatolia Islamic Centre.

They said that they felt that there was enough material in our business plan to take it forward, but that it would cost us at least $150,000. Their name was Andres Consulting, comprising former senior officers of the Central1 Credit Union and Credit UnionCentral.

We felt it was too much, especially having done a lot of work on it by the planning team voluntarily.

In 2016, the regulators updated the requirements and we decided to review the business plan on our own in order to accommodate the updates.

In 2017, we submitted the application. In the months and years leading to that, we had visited several Islamic centers and mosques, including some of the largest and most active like Rahmatul Lil ‘Aalamien, TARIC, IMO, Al Farouq, and Khalid bin Al-Waleed, to mention a few.

In the summer of that same year, we met with the Minister of Finance, Mr. Charles Souza, who declared his support and set up a team in his office to monitor the progress of our application and to hint the regulators that he was a supporter.
The regulators asked us to pay half of the fees based on their initial review.

In March 2018, we received a letter of comments and deficiencies from the regulators. Based on our review, we requested to meet them for some clarifications and the meeting took place in the fall of the same year at their office. They again reiterated that we would need the help of professional consultants.
We went back to the previous consultants who said it would now cost us at least $400,000. We decided to look for new consultants because we felt that, having done even more work, the costs should be much less.

Towards the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, we engaged the services of BlueKrystal Technologies, who said it will costs us roughly $200,000, but it could be lower or a bit higher.

In April 2020, we informed the regulators of the developments as well as the impacts of the COVID-19 and they acknowledged that the situation was unprecedented for everyone and therefore expressed their understanding that the resubmission can wait until the pandemic was over or whenever we felt we would be re-submitting it.

We are currently doing some skeletal work on the application, promoting the project and the re-filling up of the surveys of support based on the regulators’ comments, and trying to raise funds to pay the consultants.


Our Solid Community Support

Al Mukarram generally coordinates and harnesses cooperation between Muslims for the purposes of achieving peculiar aims, objectives, goals, missions, and purposes which have not been included in the agenda of the Muslim community, or have been included but their achievement has eluded the Muslim community for years.

Al Mukarram is inseparably linked with centers like Rahmatul Lil ‘Aalamien, which attracts about 300 to 500 followers. This centre and mosque is fully in support of the proposed credit union project and its premises act as the current head office of the project during the planning phase.

Jamia Islamia is a neighboring center about a kilometer away from Rahmatul Lil ‘Aalamien with close cooperation and cross-congregational programs. It has about 1,500 to 2,000 members and its Imams and management have also pledged their support to this project. Many presentations were made by the planning team at this centre during the early years of the project.

Our affiliation with the TARIC Islamic Centre is through its Imam, Sheikh Imran Ally and Br. Ahmed Abdallah, who is one of their directors and leads our operations team. It is one of the oldest mosques and boasts of about 2,000 to over 3,000 members.

The Sayyeda Khadijah Centre is one of the largest centres in the GTA and attracts about 1,000 to 2,000 members. Its Imam, Sheikh Hamid Slimi, is on the Sharee’ah Advisory Biard of the proposed credit union and pledges his and his centre’s full support.

The Imams of Masjid Toronto and Islamic Propagation Centre (Coopers), Dr. Wael Shihab, and Imam Nafees Bhayat respectively, are also on the Sharee’ah Advisory Board of the project and both pledge their full support as well as that of their centres. Each centre attracts over 2,000 congregants.

Similarly, the director of Masjid Khalid bin Al-Waleed, Sheikh Abubakar has also pledged his and his center’s full support for the project. Masjid Khalid bin Al-Waleed is one of the oldest centers in the city and has well over 3,000 followers.
These are just some of the mosques and Islamic Centres that have pledged their support for the ICUC project


What is a CU

A Credit Union is a financial service cooperative institution owned and operated by its members.

It is a financial institution for people of close affinity and bond who run their financial affairs communally and collectively.

Such a financial institution would identify and implement creative ways for Muslims to adhere to religious restrictions that, among other things, prevent them from collecting interest on savings or paying interest on loans.

Islamic finance is an ethical and equitable mode of finance that derives its principles from the traditions of Islam through Shariah (Islamic law) in governing matters of banking and finance.

The concept of Islamic finance is based on themes of community banking, ethical and socially responsible investing. These themes are based on core principles, which include individual responsibility, reliance on Halal (Islamically permissible) market mechanisms, commitment to economic and social justice, and mandatory care for the environment.

The main goal of Islamic finance is not equality but avoidance of gross inequality along with an injunction that wealth should not become “a commodity between the rich among you”. Islamic finance is firmly embedded in the commercial, real and value-producing economies.

The traditional business model of borrowing short, lending long, and living on the spread no longer works for most credit unions as the fee income used to make up the difference is getting more difficult to impose. Rather a Shariah-compliant cooperative financial institution for the Muslims would provide the solution as per the goals and features outlined.

That’s why it is essential and necessary for you to support it.


Please spare a few minutes to complete a critical survey by ICUC, a proposed Islamic Credit Union. The rationale behind this survey is to assess community support for a Muslim (Sharia-compliant) credit union in the GTA.

There are currently no credit unions that have been established to operate solely upon the tenets of the Muslim faith. This initiative is led by Shaikh S. Y. Suleiman, who has been working on this project for over a decade.

>>> Please COMPLETE this survey & SHARE: