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Passion Islam I February 2009 LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS I 11
Islamic Finance going strong
despite credit crunch
headlines recently as many mortgage
holders have discovered to their cost
that their mortgage payments will
not fall inline with the general drop in
alburaq works very differently,
as Leach explains: “When applying
for a mortgage, the public would be
well-advised to study carefully what
margin will be applied, for how long it
is guaranteed and whether there is a
‘collar’ rate.
“One of the distinguishing features
of our products is that we fix our
margins so these are clearly known
last month has seen a further Leach, head of alburaq.
from the outset and we don’t have a
deterioration in the UK economy, with “The new year could bring even
‘collar’ on our rates. In addition, we
a deepening recession, banking bail- lower rates for our customers. If rates
don’t tie-in our customers for when
outs and big-name retailers going continue to fall as predicted, from
we offer incentives, like fees assisted
bust, one sector of the market is still March 09 many of our customers
or cashback offers. We also allow
active, Islamic finance. could be paying a rate equivalent to
unlimited overpayments, which isn’t
Now both cheaper and more 4.5% or less,” he said.
always available with other Islamic or
accessible, alburaq, one of the In addition to the improving prices,
conventional mortgages.”
UK’s Islamic “mortgage” provider, there are plenty of other advantages
He added: “Unlike many of the UK
has responded to interest-rate cuts for those choosing alburaq’s Islamic
banks, we continue to offer a full range
by improving its range of Shari’ah- alternative. Recently, banks have
of products and we are still offering
compliant home purchase plans. been criticised for varying margins;
buy-to-let finance – which has almost
“Our new product range means our imposing collar rates and reducing
disappeared from the conventional
new customers now have products the range of mortgage products they
priced from the equivalent of 5.49% offer.
on their home finance,” explains Keith “Collar rates” have made the
Ex-Christian helps Welsh-Muslim reverts adapt
Deciding to change religion can be Prophet Muhammad. as with all belief systems, you will get
a daunting and confusing process; “I went there [Capetown] in 1992, fanatics who interpret things badly and
luckily for those in Wales that decide just post apartheid, when Muslims perhaps use religion as justification
to revert to Islam there is something were put on a par with the main black for their actions, but that is not true
called the New Muslim Project Wales group…I noticed that every Friday with majority of Muslims“
(NMPW)--an initiative set up to help [Islam’s holy day] many of the shops Abdul Rahman stressed that the
new Muslims make the transition. that were run by Muslims shut and initiative was only for adults that
Whether it is dealing with negative that there was something spiritual had made the decision to revert by
family reactions or finding the nearest going on and in my neighborhood themselves to Islam”
Halal meat shop, the project aims to there were three or four mosques. Members can gain access to
welcome people to the faith and offers I heard the call to prayer and it was a variety of services ranging from
educational classes, social activities lovely. a pack that includes a copy of the
and a buddy system. Then I heard about the Prophet Quran, a prayer mat and a biography
Abdul Rahman, a 57-year old Muhammed and wanted to find out of Prophet Muhammad.
previously called Richard Fairclough, more,” he added. “We are not converting people.
set up the initiative with fellow “reverts” “I had belief and understanding These are adults who have already
as they are known, basing it on the as a Christian, but what I have made that decision and just want to
U.K.-wide New Muslim Project. found with Islam is so much more know where their nearest mosque
Abdul Rahman was an active straightforward,” said Abdul Rahman. is, where they can buy halal meat”
Christian for most of his life until he “ As a revert to Islam, people may he said, adding “we don’t go around
moved to South Africa, where he was have to cope with negative reactions banging on doors.
intrigued by the call to prayer and because of the way the media often The only time a Muslim will knock
felt compelled to learn more about portrays Muslims as terrorists [but] on your door is to offer hospitality.”
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