A real estate sale in Washington conducted in accord with Sharia. As the Muslim presence in the West grows, it is likely that this will become increasingly common, and calls for it as a matter of human rights will increase — calls with important implications for the prevalence of other Sharia provisions in the West. From the New York Times, with thanks to Scaramouche:
As rising crude oil prices leave many Middle Easterners flush with cash, much of their money is being invested in real estate, both in the United States and abroad.
Most transactions are still conducted the conventional way, but some real estate specialists say there is a growing appetite among investors for deals that conform to the rules of the Koran. Adhering to Shariah, or Islamic law, can determine how a project is financed – riba, or interest, is prohibited, for example – and also generally means excluding such tenants as bars, mortgage lenders and video stores.
No one knows just how much capital from the Persian Gulf states is finding its way into real estate in the United States. “This capital is very difficult to track as many Middle Eastern buyers work hard to maintain their confidentiality,” said Robert M. White Jr., the president of Real Capital Analytics, a research firm in New York.
And Shariah-compliant investing is still in its infancy. But “a lot more people are talking about it,” said Steven J. Adelkoff, a real estate lawyer at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham in Pittsburgh, one of a handful of American lawyers with expertise in this field. “In the past 18 months I’ve had more inquiries than ever before.”
Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo, an American Shariah consultant who helped set up the Dow Jones Islamic Markets Index, said that this type of investing caught on only after it was shown to be just as profitable as conventionally structured investments. “Most people feel that if I have choice – all things being equal – I’ll take Shariah,” he said of Islamic investors. “Then I can sleep at night.”