Monday, December 17, 2007

Sharia Financing in Minneapolis?

Thanks to the alertness of James Lileks, we now know that Sharia finance — loans made without interest, as prescribed by Islamic law — is being officially promoted by the mayor of Minneapolis.

Here’s the relevant section excerpted from the mayor’s speech, followed by Mr. Lileks’ commentary:

“Beyond connecting people to jobs and preparing future workers, we need to continue creating more jobs by also supporting our entrepreneurs and small business owners, who are responsible for half of all new jobs created. We’ll support these small businesses with more than $4.7 million dollars of business financing tools that provide:

  • market-rate loans for job creation,
  • low-interest loans to purchase equipment or make building improvements,
  • loans to purchase and rehabilitate small commercial and industrial properties, and
  • alternative financing loans with no interest to business owners whose religious beliefs restrict them from receiving traditional interest-based financing.” (Emphasis added.)
- - - - - - - - -
Unless no-interest business loans are available to religious believers whose doctrines do not forbid interest — not to mention anarchists — this would seem to be Flamingly Unconstitutional, to use the legal term. Does one have to prove one holds this particular religious belief? Would they bring in someone to test you? It seems absurd to expect the government to validate your piety to make sure you qualify for benefits.

Sharia-based finance is rapidly gaining ground in the United States. The most effective means to combat it is to denounce it vigorously, loudly, and repeatedly as blatantly unconstitutional.

Hat tip: Wally Ballou.


Papa Whiskey said...

For more on dhimmitude in Minnesota, see this.

Kathy said...

Well, that eliminates any Christians from getting non-interest loans, although usury is also against Christian principles. The only difference is they don't fear Christians because Christians don't threaten to cut anyone's head off or blow something up when they don't get their way. The utter spinelessness of our supposed "leaders" makes you want to puke, doesn't it? Fodder for the slaughter.

. said...

Should government provide no-interest loans based upon a religious test? Of course not. Government shouldn't be providing no-interest loans to anyone. And government is prohibited constitutionally from providing any program based upon a religious test.

However, do not conflate this with private "Islamic" financing. First of all, such financing is NOT interest-free - the interest is just disguised in another format. Privately-owned finance companies do not make a business of providing services at no profit.

Next, the provision of "Islamic" loans to private individuals by other private individuals is not unconstitutional. The First Amendment prohibition on religious tests applies to government, not non-governmental entities or individuals.

Finally, if businesses and individuals want to grease the engines of capitalism with a different type of financial product, why not?

Jan Sobieski said...

This really isn't a surprise coming from a Mayor who endorsed and campaigned for Keith Ellison.

ChenZhen said...

It's just putting the interest into the cost of the payment and calling it something else. Easy.

Zenster said...

"Preferential treatment"

"Unequal protection under the law"

"Government sponsorship of religion"

These are but a few legal descriptions that spring to mind. They stand diametrically opposed to the "Islam-unfriendly" measures that Fjordman suggests in his, "Recommendations for the West". Instead we see toleration of Muslim store clerks who violate their terms of employment by refusing to handle unopened alcohol and hermetically sealed pork products, Somali taxicab drivers breaching their license contracts by not picking up passengers with seeing-eye dogs and even the Flying Imams using lawfare to intimidate those who were entirely justified in reporting their highly suspicious and intentionally provocative behavior.

Is there anyone who can honestly say that these sort of accommodating gestures would have gone unprotested had they been granted Japanese or German American citizens during World War II? Yet—in blatant disregard of how Islam has openly declared war upon the West—these Muslim fifth columnists are cosseted and appeased, despite how it directly abridges basic civil rights of others in the community.

"Outrageous", does not even begin to describe such conduct. "Treason" springs to mind far more readily.

leadpb said...

All of these concessions based on fear can be made to disappear just as rapidly as they sprang up. That's when survival wakes up and takes the reins from fear. Coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

Marcus Aurelius said...


My understanding of Islamic financing is dude wants to buy a car, the bank buys the car, marks up the price, sells it to dude and dude pays back what he owes in installments.

Is it interest? Yes and no.

I do not mind if the non-muslim is charged 20% for $100.00 over a year and Muslim is charged $20 for the same money over the same period.

I see ChenZhen made my point. Also, IIRC a guaranteed & fixed return is also not permitted. You make a deposit in a bank and the bank earns X amount of money you earn a share of X according to your deposit.

In the UAE in my first lesson on percents I used interest as an example. My students were quick to let me know interest was haram. I also used MOHD as the person depositing money into an interest bearing account. That also was not a class favorite.

Irene M. said...

I guess that I just don't understand all together how religious beliefs would come into play on getting unsecured small business loans. But other than that, I guess it's a good thing that more doors would be open to those who have difficulty.