The information in the toolkit and campaign is as follows below:
We need your help in lobbying MPs to support the swift introduction of legislation to allow the Secretary of State for Universities to instruct the Student Loans Company, or a similar body, to additionally offer Shari‘ah-compliant finance.
The good news is that the Government Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which is in charge of policy relating to the Student Loans Company, has already developed a Shari‘ah-compliant model, which we have been consulted on.
The bad news is there is no firm date when this alternative model will be introduced because there is a legal requirement for politicians to first pass legislation in parliament.
BIS reckon it will take 3-4 years before an alternative model becomes a reality, not only because of the need to pass legislation, but also because they need to then carry out a feasibility study, and properly test an alternative model.
We think this is way too long and will leave many Muslim students stranded in the interim, not least because increased student fees of up to £9,000 per annum come in from September 2012.
You can help by contacting your MP, and asking them in turn to contact the Minister for Universities, David Willetts MP, and urge him to prioritise the introduction of the required legislation.
We would also like to hear from you if you, or someone you know, has been personally affected by the lack of suitable Shari‘ah finance. We intend to collate case studies so as to better demonstrate the detrimental impact this issue is having on the education of many Muslims.
To learn more about our work in this area, please read the following:
1. Click here for our summary of the Equality Impact Report BIS issued in May 2012 which mentioned alternative finance.
2. Click here to learn more about how students presently finance their university education, as well as to learn more about the alternative finance scheme.
3. Click here to learn about alternative options currently available for those wanting to go to university without recourse to conventional finance.
5. Click here to learn more about Census statistics showing how British Muslims are likelier to be in poor health, unemployed or not educated to degree standard compared to the national average.
6. Click here to read Parliamentary Questions recently raised by MPs in response to requests from constituents responding to our campaign.
8. Click here to read Moneysavingexpert.com founder Martin Lewis’s support for a Shari‘ah-compliant alternative to the current interest-based system.
10. Click here to sign the epetition, initiated by a proactive Muslim student, which demands serious consideration of this alternative model. [Added: October 15, 2013]