SEATTLE, Wash. — The mayor of Seattle and his housing committee have unveiled a plan to increase housing in the city, with a portion of the plan proposing the offering of Sharia law-compliant loans for Muslim residents.
Among the number of ideas offered to make housing more affordable for Seattle residents is a segment that addresses Muslim beliefs, as Sharia law forbids usury for its adherents.
“For our low—and moderate—income Muslim neighbors who follow Sharia law—which prohibits the payment of interest or fees for loans of money—there are limited options for financing a home,” the proposed plan reads. “Some Muslims are unable to use conventional mortgage products due to religious convictions.”
“The City will convene lenders, housing nonprofits and community leaders to explore the best options for increasing access to Sharia-compliant loan products to help these residents become homeowners in Seattle,” it says.
Arsalan Bukhari, chapter executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the Puget Sound Business Journal that he believes that there are approximately two hundred Seattle residents who identify as Muslim that avoid taking out home loans because of their religion.
“[T]hey don’t want to pay interest,” he said.
Mayor Ed Murray mentioned the proposal at a recent press conference, which will go to city counsel for consideration.
“We will work to develop new tools for Muslims who are prevented from using conventional mortgage products due to their religious beliefs,” he said.