Mahmoud al Qureshi has just arrived in the United States from Pakistan. He has an excellent job in a New Jersey company as an advisor on Middle East exports. He has found a home he wants to purchase in Jersey City but he cannot agree to the terms of the mortgage. Islam has defnite rules about taking and paying interest that prohibit Mahmoud from signing a mortgage contract with a Jersey City bank. He decides to talk to his imam about it to find a solution because Mahmoud knows that other Muslims in the U.S. have successfully bought homes without compromising their faith. When he talked with a Christian co-worker, he learned that before the middle of the 16th century Christians had the same problem.
Issues and Study Questions
- Based on the overview above, what is the conflict?
- What belief systems about money and debt do Muslims and early Christians have in common?
- Why could Mahmoud not agree to the terms of the mortgages he has found?
- What could he or the lenders do differently?
- Why was religion an issue in this situation?
- What is the responsibility of lenders in such a situation? What about other professions?
- Do you think there is a “right” and “wrong” way to handle this situation? Why? Why not?
- Have you faced similar conflicts in your own profession or personal life? If so, what were they? Were they resolved?
- Do you think education about religious literacy would have helped/harmed in this situation? How so?
Source: Religion and the Professions (General Honors 1030) taught by Dr. Jill Raitt, University of Missouri