Source: The Associated Press
Mohamed Nurhussien faced the usual challenges of a low-income worker trying to buy a home, with one big difference: As a Muslim he was forbidden by his religion to pay interest.
The 54-year-old Eritrean immigrant with five children thought his only option was to save enough money to purchase a home outright, with cash earned from his job at a security company.
Then he heard about Habitat for Humanity. For some Muslim immigrants like Nurhussien, the Christian homebuilding charity that offers zero-interest loans has become a real godsend.
"The way Habitat deals fits exactly to our requirements," said Nurhussien, who bought a home earlier this year from the northern Virginia chapter of the group. "It's not free. It is no interest. It's good for me and whoever has the same belief."
In northern Virginia, a majority of 12 families who bought condominiums at the local Habitat's latest development, including Nurhussien, are Muslim. In Nashville, local Habitat executive director Chris McCarthy said the city's large population of Muslim Kurdish immigrants has embraced the nonprofit. Over 10 percent of the group's mortgage holders are Kurdish.
And Muslim leaders are responding by offering labor to build homes, financial support and more to Habitat. Since 1976, the nonprofit has offered homes based on people's need, their ability to pay and their willingness to help build the houses and attend classes on topics such as budgeting.