Seattle Mayor Ed Murray Introduces Sharia Law Plan for Muslim Home BuyersPosted: July 16, 2015 | |
“We will work to develop new tools for Muslims who are prevented from using conventional mortgage products due to their religious beliefs.”
— Seattle Mayor Ed Murray
On Monday, Murray’s housing committee released its recommendations for ways the city can increase housing in the city. Most ideas were what you’d expect, including increasing the city’s housing levy and implementing new rules and regulations to foster development of market-rate and lower-income housing.
One suggestion would help followers of Sharia law buy houses. That’s virtually impossible now because Sharia law prohibits payment of interest on loans. The 28-member committee recommended the city convene lenders and community leaders to explore options for increasing access to Sharia-compliant loan products.
“They could easily qualify for home loans but opt not to apply ‘simply because they don’t want to pay interest.’”
— CAIR Chapter Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari
More and more lenders are offering Sharia-compliant financing, according to a USA Today report. The sector has grown to more than $1.6 trillion in assets worldwide over the past three decades, and analysts see potential for continued growth as the number of Muslims in the United States and Europe grows.
“Their religious beliefs also call for killing those who leave Islam, killing gays…having four wives, marrying children, and waging jihad…Is Murray going to help Muslims enjoy those aspects of their religion too?”
It’s unclear how many Muslims in Seattle would benefit from Murray’s plan. The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) estimates more than 30,000 Muslims live in the greater Seattle area, and Chapter Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari on Tuesday said it’s “fairly common” for some not to seek loans.
Based on what he called “rough anecdotal evidence,” Bukhari estimated a couple hundred people aren’t borrowing money for houses due to their religion. He said this includes even high-wage earners, such as the more than 1,000 Muslims who work for Microsoft (Nasdaq: MFST) and more than 500 Amazon.com employees.
They could easily qualify for home loans but opt not to apply “simply because they don’t want to pay interest,” Bukhari said.