Last Updated: 7th April 2014
 
Please see this blog post for the latest developments to this campaign. The Government have issued a survey, requesting Muslims and non Muslims to give their opinions regarding proposals for a shari’ah compliant student loans finance product. This is a promising, yet long over due step. Please click here for full details. 
 
Our new and up-to-date toolkit for “Lobbying for a Halal Alternative to Student Loans” is now ready to help you help yourself in trying to change the existing paradigm. Muslims must not be disadvantaged when it comes to educational access, and if you follow the advice and instructions in the link, you will be sure to benefit at least yourself and many others too.

The information in the toolkit and campaign is as follows below:

This campaign is brought to you in partnership with FOSIS, NUS and Al-Qalam

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.

Please click here to find out how to contact your MP, and click here for a sample email you can send them.

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.

4.      Click here for our recent article, here for FOSIS’s take, and here to read the NUS article on this important matter. You can also see a 3 min news report summarising the problem here

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]

Thank you.

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16 Responses to “Lobbying for a Halal Alternative to Student Loans”

  1. N.Ahmed says:

    I am unable to open the template letter which could be used to lobby mp

  2. Garry Dent says:

    Have received a reply from Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central. She is writing to the Universities Minister to ensure the Shariah compliant model is brought forward as soon as possible, and is awaiting answers to other parliamentary questions able this problem.

  3. ali says:

    same as above post can’t open it.

    I unfortunately started uni this year and fee cost 3500. took out 3500 fee loan, 2000 maintenance loan and grant. As no alternative halal loan was available.

  4. Nathaniel Brown says:

    Great idea! but why where we sidelined and our beliefs not even considered, in the first place?

  5. F. Begum says:

    Allhamdulilah!!! Finally there is some sort of movement in regard to this horrendous affair. I for one am affected by this controversy immensely this is not only affecting the young muslims but the population on a whole. Im so delighted and infavour of this halal alternative option but i do have to say this alternative option needs to be promoted alot better, raising awarness so to increase the speed of the implemntaion of this legislation.

  6. Fawzul Mohamed says:

    Received a reply from our MP Siobhain McDonagh saying
    “I obviously will do all I can to support the speedy development of such a scheme.”

  7. Aliya says:

    Salam,

    Is it possible to get as many people to sign the letter as possible before sending it off??

    Thanks

  8. Umm Hanifa says:

    Assalamu alaikum,

    I don’t know how much Shari’a compliant such a scheme can be. I am not convinced the “halal” mortgages we have are really halal. However, why relying on the government? Why can’t Muslim organise a fund for student loans where Students would repay the debts after graduation? I am sure that, if Muslims were to unite, we could find a solution.

    There could be requirements, the borrowing could be according to the family’s income and size, there could be the condition that one needs to study near a parents residence so as to limit costs, there could be a maximum in the borrowing, …

  9. Muniruddeen Lallmahamood says:

    This appears to be good news.

    “Never again should a Muslim in Britain feel unable to go to university because they cannot get a Student Loan – simply because of their religion.” From David Cameron speech at 9th WIEF.

    Any update on the above please.

    Munir

  10. Naima says:

    This is a great move forward for the academic minds of the future generations. I would suggest targetting ISOCs within the the UK universities to help with getting the word out for lobbying too.

  11. […] Lewis, and this online petition by concerned students, coupled with the replies to our own halal student loans campaign page clearly indicate there is a real demand. We personally know of many dozens of students affected by […]

  12. […] group called First Ethical Charitable Trust has launched an advocacy campaign— “Lobbying for a Halal Alternative to Student Loans“—aimed at pressuring the government to introduce Sharia-compliant student loans. The […]

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