From the Washington Times:
A financial firm plans to open an office in Fairfax County in early March to sell mutual funds to the Washington area’s Muslims, joining banks and investment houses that find the growing U.S. Islamic population can no longer be ignored.
Saturna Capital Corp. plans to sell its Amana mutual funds to the Washington area’s approximately 200,000 Muslims who want to avoid violating Islamic law with their investments.
“They’re fairly young, making a lot of money, well-educated and they’re looking for services,” said Monem Salam, director of Islamic investing for Saturna Capital, which also sells funds that have no religious orientation.
The funds invest only in stocks that are Shariah-compliant, which means they cannot invest in the alcoholic beverage, gambling, pornography, tobacco or pork-processing industries.
Islamic law also forbids Muslims from paying or earning interest.
A Washington-area office “gives us access to all the East Coast,” Mr. Salam said.
The Bellingham, Wash., company, which manages $250 million in Islamic investments, is riding a trend among financial institutions to find a niche among the nation’s Muslim population.
Although Census Bureau data is sketchy, government studies and Muslim groups estimate 6 million to 7 million Muslims live in the United States. Other studies, however, have estimated the number as low as 1.6 million. The Department of Homeland Security says the number is rising with immigration from Muslim countries…
Unresolved under Internal Revenue Service rules is whether Muslim taxpayers can claim an interest deduction on their homes or businesses when they are not paying interest.
Muslim groups say their concerns are being taken more seriously as their U.S. population grows.
“The community has obviously grown by leaps and bounds,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington civil rights group for the Muslim community…