Muslim student’s campaign for more inclusive university loans supported by Hove MP, Peter Kyle
Categories: Latest News
Friday March 23 2018
A recent article in the Brighton & Hove Independent has reported a young Muslim student’s campaign to lobby the Government to introduce interest-free university loans and is being backed by Hove MP, Mr Peter Kyle.
Ms Thasnima Haque, who is currently studying at Sussex Downs College for her A-Levels and leading the campaign, said: “There are so many Muslims I know in the same situation who have not gone to university…One thing we want to fight for especially is for female Muslim students to go for higher education and get a good job. The most economically deprived group is female Muslims. This will be a huge opportunity to make this social change”.
She added: “We want to use our voice in the best way possible. Imagine the number of people who have dreams but don’t get to go to university”.
A significant number of Muslim students are unable to go to university because the current financial support provided by the Government is not interest-free. Many Muslims believe that interest should be avoided as far as possible due to Islamic teachings preaching against interest.
Ms Haque said: “A foundational belief in Islam is that interest is forbidden. This is because the end result is that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, leading to further inequality”.
Mr Kyle MP, said: “It is totally unacceptable that Government ministers are dragging their feet on this crucial issue…Having begun a consultation back in 2014, the Government have recently confirmed to me that Sharia-compliant student loans now won’t be ready before 2019…Students like Thasnima shouldn’t have to resort to crowdfunding to be able to go to University”.
He added: “I am extremely frustrated by the Government’s failure to understand the urgency of this issue for many Muslim students…This is an issue of fairness, and I will keep campaigning for this vital new scheme to be introduced as soon as possible”.
The Government launched a consultation on interest-free student loans on the 3rd of April 2014 by, the then Universities and Science Minister, Mr David Willetts.
Mr Willetts at the time said: “The Government is committed to ensuring that anyone with the ability and desire can go to university…[interest-free loans] will also give universities access to a wider pool of talent and help the UK get the higher level skills we need to secure long-term economic growth”.
MEND recognises the large number of Muslim students dissuaded from accessing higher education due to interest-based loans being contrary to their religious belief. We are committed to pushing for interest-free student loans and are actively lobbying the Government to introduce adequate measures.