Several Norwegian Muslims struggle to acquire their own homes because they believe their religion forbids them to pay interest. Religion Researcher Torkel Brekke believes this hinders integration.
Muslims who have a strong interpretation of their belief to not pay interest, often end up on the rental market.
– This could prevent economic integration in Norway because owning your own home is important to build up capital in this country, says Torkel Brekke, Project Manager at Civita, as told to the newspaper Vårt Land.
Brekke, who is also Assistant Director and Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute (PRIO), is concerned that this group then refers to the rental market with high prices and unstable accommodation.
With support from the Financial Fund Brekke has written the report “Islamic Finance in Norway”, published by the think tank Civita, which concludes that Islamic financial products are in demand among Muslims in Norway.
The Financial Services Authority (Finanstilsynet) informs Vårt Land that the current law for foreign financial institutions would need to be amended in order to allow them to establish themselves in Norway and offer Islamic financial services.
In a survey in connection with the report, nine out of ten Muslim respondents that it is a problem that this type of loan is not offered in Norway, and eight out of ten say they are willing to pay more for an interest-free loan.
– The interviews show that Norwegian Muslims are a diverse group. While many are secular and care little about the interest restrictions and other religious regulations, while others want to live according to what they believe the Quran commands, says Brekke.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today