March 30, 2009
Islamic law protects Muslims from downturn
The U.S. economic downturn is taking less out of American Muslims who follow an Islamic law against paying or charging interest, observers note.
The Sacramento Bee reported Monday that as a group Muslims also have been somewhat protected because they are barred from investing in banks and mortgages, which have experienced a big hit in the marketplace.
If everybody was Shariah-compliant, there would be no recession, said Farouk Fakira, who moderated a discussion on Islamic finance at Sacramento's Masjid Annur last week.
Shariah prohibits usury, which often took advantage of desperate people who needed to feed or protect their families, said Imam Muhammed Abdul Azeez of Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims.
There's an element of exploitation here.
About one-fifth of the Sacramento area's 50,000 American Muslims follow Islamic rules of finance, said Irfan Haq, an economist and president of the Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations.
Muslims in general have been much less affected by the recession because they're very cautious and conservative in matters of finance and take a longer-term view of life, Haq was quoted as saying.
They want to invest their funds in a way that pleases God so they can sleep peacefully -- they care about the afterlife.