Archive for the ‘Islam’ Category

The Mortgage Lenders From Halal

Monday, March 9th, 2009

According to a Case Study: Islamic mortgages interest-based mortgages do not comply with Sharia law.

In the eyes of Islamic scholars, interest is an excess payment from one party to another which is unrelated to the value of the goods traded.

Mortgage interest is therefore unacceptable because one party gains at the other’s expense without any regard to the price paid for the home.

Just what does an Islamic mortgage look like? How is it different from mortgages assumed by the rest of Britons? In simple terms

  • In an interest-based mortgage, the lender provides a sum of money to the home purchaser with which to purchase the home. The home purchaser repays the lender with interest over a period of time, say 30 years.
  • In an Islamic mortgage, the “lender” and “customer” partner together to buy a home with the “lender” paying most of the cost. The “customer” occupies the home and, over a period of time, makes payments to their partner. These payments server two purposes. First, a portion of the payments over time are a buy-out of the “lender’s” share. Second, the payments include rent to the “lender” for use of the property by the “customer”.

According to the BBC article,

Just as with an interest mortgage, the couple move in and begin paying instalments to the lender to slowly buy the home over many years.

But the difference is they also pay a rent to the lender who has effectively become their landlord.

In Islamic terms, the rent is not another name for interest: It is seen as a fair payment for use of the property rather than a charge for borrowing money.

Rent, interest. Fair payment for property, fair payment for money. It all seems like semantics to me. The BBC article indicates that in Britain, at least, the Islamic mortgage is actually more costly for the “customer” than a traditional mortgage would be for the “borrower”. You can’t put a price on halal.

Yes, you can’t put a price on halal, and neither can Minnesota. According to Minn. State Agency Offers Islamic Mortgages Minnesota is offering the New Markets Mortgage Program for Islamic buyers. These mortgages work a little differently from those described above.

The state buys a home and resells it to the buyer at a higher price. The down payment and monthly installments are agreed to up front at current mortgage rates.

The deal is identical to a thirty-year fixed-rate loan, except there’s no additional interest, because the higher up front price factors in payments that would have been made over the life of a traditional mortgage.

I think this passage could have been clearer. If I understand it correctly, the home is purchased by the state and re-sold at a much higher price with something like a 30-year 0% interest mortgage.

This all seems like semantics to me, regardless of the opinions offered by Sharia scholars.

No Diplomats Required

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

President Obama is trying to make nice with Muslims, according to the Washington Post article of January 27th Obama Voices Hope for Mideast Peace in Talk With Al-Arabiya TV

President Obama expressed optimism yesterday about the prospect of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but he said a peace accord will take time and require new thinking about the problems of the Middle East as a whole.

Oh, sure, solving an intractable problem is easy; it just takes some time and a new thinking. It has been suggested that the Bush administration has set back peace between Israel and Palestine because the administration disengaged after Hamas seized power in Gaza. Actually, disengagement is a strategy and, no question about it, this was new thinking. The fact that it did not work simply ranks it among the best (and worst) strategies to date. No strategy has come close to working. So, now, we have the venerable George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke going to the Middle East. These are good men, no question. But you could say that they had their shot. Maybe they are better for having tried and failed. Best of luck to them.

Later in the article

“All too often the United States starts by dictating — in the past on some of these issues — and we don’t always know all the factors that are involved,” Obama told al-Arabiya. “So let’s listen. He’s going to be speaking to all the major parties involved. And he will then report back to me. From there we will formulate a specific response.”

I think I know what Obama means.

  • We didn’t have all the factors when Iraq invaded Kuwait.
  • We didn’t know all the factors when Iraq kicked out nuclear inspectors, then claimed to have destroyed their nuclear weapons, but offered no documentary evidence.
  • We didn’t know all the factors surrounding Iran’s supply of explosively-formed projectiles to insurgents in Iraq.
  • We didn’t know all the factors surrounding Iran’s and Syria’s use of Hamas as a proxy.
  • We didn’t know all the factors regarding Iran’s nuclear ambition.
  • We didn’t have all the factors surrounding the Iran Holocaust Conference.
  • We didn’t have all the factors surrounding the Syrian reactor site that Israel took out.
  • We didn’t know all the factors pertaining to the Pakistanis that opened fire in Mumbai. It was, according to Deepak Chopra, the fault of the United States.
  • We don’t know all the factors surrounding the execution of Daniel Pearl or why it was filmed and placed on Arab websites.

How obvious! Hey, you Liberals Progressives, listen up, these Middle East regimes are not complex, and their intentions are not nuanced. Try reading the Hamas Covenant of 1988. It doesn’t take a diplomat to get their drift.

Later in the article

But in tone, his comments were a stark departure from those of former president George W. Bush, who often described the Middle East conflict in terms that drew criticism from Palestinians.

By contrast, Obama went out of his way to say that if America is “ready to initiate a new partnership [with the Muslim world] based on mutual respect and mutual interest, then I think that we can make significant progress.”

Did Obama really say “based on mutual respect”? Did he really “go out of his way”? Tell me he didn’t! I mean, there is nothing wrong with respect, but this quote cedes a straw man argument to Muslims, doesn’t it? Recently, columnist Charles Krauthammer had this to say

…over the last 20 years, the United States has been engaged in exactly five military engagements in the world, two in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait, all of them liberating Islamic peoples.

We have no need to apologize. Extend a hand, yes, but to imply that there was a disrespect of Islam in the last administration, I think is unfair and fictional.

Indeed, the United States has done more, much more, than any other country to liberate Muslims from tyranny and help improve educational prospects for young Muslim girls.

I remember back to 9/11. People, including President Bush, repeated over and over that Islam was a religion of peace and that the hijackers had perverted the religion. The problem was, the people repeating this were nearly all Christian and rarely Muslim. It would have been nice to hear Muslim’s disavow the actions of the hijackers in something other than muted tones, and in large numbers, too.