Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Dhimmi in Detroit?

A couple of interesting articles caught my attention last week. And how could they not? They were both on the front page of the Detroit Free Press. Big news? You be the judge. The
first one concerns halal products being advertised and served in the Detroit area.
Suehaila Amen and her family relish Mexican food, but because they are observant Muslims, they were unable until recently to enjoy one of their favorites dishes, chicken fajitas, when eating out.

Non-halal products include pork and alcohol. If observant Muslims consume non-halal products unknowingly, they can ask God for forgiveness.

The Wayne County ordinance prohibiting the false labeling of halal products is to take effect next month.

The reason? Under Islamic law, all consumed meat must be halal -- the Muslim equivalent of kosher. And the meat in most restaurants doesn't meet the strict doctrinal standard.

But last month, Camelia's Mexican Grill opened near the Amens' home in Dearborn, becoming the only halal Mexican restaurant in the city and possibly the region.

It's the latest restaurant in metro Detroit to feature halal products, which are becoming increasingly popular in the region as the Muslim population continues to grow and expand into other suburbs.

On Thursday, the Wayne County Commission passed a law to address the concerns of observant Muslims who want to be sure what they are getting is really halal. It penalizes those who mislead consumers by falsely advertising halal or kosher products.

No specific butchers or restaurants have been accused by the county of misleading customers, but some Muslim residents worry that businesses might skirt the rules to save money.
OK, I can understand a restaurant in a heavily Muslim area wanting to cater to the widest possible clientele. That's business. Does it deserve the front page? I don't think so.

The next day, again on the front page was this article.
When Shereen Solaiman and her husband, Brandon Metzger, bought a home in Ypsilanti eight years ago, they had to make a difficult compromise.

Solaiman, who was born into Islam, and Metzger, who embraced the religion 13 years ago, took out a conventional mortgage that charged interest.

By many interpretations, Koranic law forbids the payment or receipt of interest on the theory it creates a culture of debt slavery, which begets other evils.

But when Soliaman and Metzger moved to Canton earlier this year, they found a new way to finance their house that didn't compromise their principles.

They obtained an Islamic mortgage that was in Sharia -- or compliance with Islamic law. In Islamic mortgages, an intermediary such as a bank buys the property, and the homeowner eventually obtains the home through a lease-to-own arrangement.

Solaiman and Metzger were thrilled to find that University Bank in Ann Arbor had begun offering Islamic mortgages locally and they cost only a little more than a regular loan.

It's a step toward helping the Detroit area's large and growing Muslim community obtain the American dream of home ownership without sacrificing their beliefs.
This one bothered me. First of all, in this country, we are blessed with a capitalist economy. If this violates your principles, there are other countries that may better suit you. Second, this sounds like a discriminitory practice to me. Third of all, the mental gymnastics needed to pretend that the interest charged is not really interest, but something else occupies brain cells that could certainly be put to better use.

I didn't bother writing to the Free Press, but others did. And I'm glad they did. I was surprised that they were printed.
Are we in America living under American laws, or do the laws swing to the beat of every religion or culture that establishes roots in this country? According to the 1977 Fair Lending Act, a lender or banking institution cannot discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin or ancestry.

When American banking institutions start lending money on noninterest-bearing loans, it should be across the board to all Americans and not based on religion or race.
I am always heartened to see others responding to the attempted Islamic take over of our country by at least objecting to it. The Free Press seems to be celebrating it.

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