Muslim Prohibition on Paying Interest Creates Challenges for Homeownership

March 5, 2000

Source: Star Tribune

On March 5, 2000, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis published an article on the difficulties that many Muslims, and some other religious individuals, have buying homes when paying interest is directly against the tenets of their faith. One of the few organizations that can facilitate interest-free housing is Habitat for Humanity, a Christian organization founded upon the principle of interest-free mortgages. Steve Seidel, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota, stated: "We're delighted by our use of the interest-free mortgage. It also is a faith-based belief...If we're dealing with folks who need our help, charging them interest would be contrary to what scripture tells us to do. It's a wonderful, common tenet of faith that Jews, Christians and Muslims share, especially when it comes to the necessities of life, like housing." However, many practicing Muslims earn too much money to quality for Habitat's strict income guidelines.