Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Muslim Mortgages In Minnesota
For many Minnesota Muslims, it's been virtually impossible to buy a home, because Islamic law forbids the paying or charging of interest. To help close the home ownership gap among Muslim immigrants, the state's housing agency has launched a new program offering Islamic mortgages.
Islamic law does make exceptions to the ban on interest, if one's family is at stake. But the exceptions are open to interpretation and for many observant Muslims, conventional mortgages are strictly taboo.
Nawawi Sheikh is one of them.
He has no plans to move again anytime soon. Sheikh is the first home buyer to get a loan through the state's New Markets Mortgage Program.
Here's how the mortgage, known as Murabaha financing or "cost plus sale," works:
The state buys a home and resells it to the buyer at a higher price. The down payment and monthly installments are agreed to up front at current mortgage rates.
The deal is identical to a thirty-year fixed-rate loan, except there's no additional interest, because the higher up front price factors in payments that would have been made over the life of a traditional mortgage.
A handful of private banks and lending institutions offer Islamic mortgages in the U.S., but Minnesota Housing is the first state agency to offer such a product. The program is the brainchild of Hussein Samatar, director of the African Development Center in Minneapolis.
The question is why the government created a special program based on a religious belief when the private sector is already doing this? Further, why is government doing this at all? Where is the separation of church and state in this particular issue?
It's about time that law is changed to accommodate religion, isn't it? I'd like hot and cold holy water piped into my house, I want the government to do it and I'd like a subsidy or tax credit for doing it. (pbuh)
Stop The ACLU
Call Barry al-Pbama, he'll have one of his co-Muslims give you a suitcase full of cash. (pbuh)!
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