How does it work? “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 state buys the home and makes the Sharia-compliant arrangements with the Muslim buyer. As Jihad Watch reader Paul, who kindly sent me this story, asks: “Establishment clause, anyone?”
“New Islamic mortgages now available in Minnesota,” by Jessica Mador for Minnesota Public Radio, March 1 (thanks to Paul):
For many Minnesota Muslims, it’s been virtually impossible to buy a home, because Islamic law forbids the paying or charging of interest. To help close the home ownership gap among Muslim immigrants, the state’s housing agency is launching a new program offering Islamic mortgages.
Minneapolis, Minn. “” Islamic law does make exceptions to the ban on interest, if one’s family is at stake. But the exceptions are open to interpretation and for many observant Muslims, conventional mortgages are strictly taboo….
The program is targeted at low-to-moderate income families. Qualified applicants have to complete first-time home buyer education classes. The goal is to help Muslim home buyers build wealth and reap the benefits of home ownership.
Here’s how the mortgage, known as Murabaha financing or “cost plus sale,” works:
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.
A handful of private banks and lending institutions offer Islamic mortgages in the U.S., but Minnesota Housing is the first state agency to offer such a product. The program is the brainchild of Hussein Samatar, director of the African Development Center in Minneapolis.
“The process is different, but the outcome will look the same,” Samatar says. “We wanted to be as conventional as possible, while respecting the tenets of Islam.
Samatar, who used to work for Wells Fargo, tried for years to launch Islamic financing. He says the fact that Minnesota Housing has agreed to participate is a nod to the Muslim community’s growing economic power….