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Sunday, 23 September 2007

Amsterdam wants halal mortgage

21 September 2007 - Amsterdam is going to urge Finance Minister Wouter Bos to make it possible for banks to offer Islamic mortgages, Mayor Job Cohen announced in response to questions asked by council member Hetti Willemse (PvdA). Amsterdam wants to promote house ownership. Willemse argues that the lack of mortgages that conform to Islamic rules is keeping Muslim Amsterdammers from buying a house. According Cohen, some 2.4% of Amsterdammers may be interested in Islamic mortgages, but he emphasises that this is a very rough estimate. Islam prohibits interest, although some hold that the prohibition only applies to usury. A controversial issue is whether Islamic mortgages should have fiscal advantages comparable to the tax deduction of interest that applies to normal mortgages. In July, minister Bos said that the development of Islamic banking is an opportunity for the Dutch financial sector. As an example, he pointed to Dubai and London developing into international centres of Islamic banking. - (NA, 21 Sep o7)

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