Tuition fee system is discriminatory, say Muslims
Monday 22 August 2011
Muslim students could be forced to abandon hopes of a university place under the new fees and loans regime which will come into place next year.
The Government's plan to increase tuition fees and implement higher rates of interest on loans means many young Muslims will be deterred from applying to university until a scheme is put in place that allows them to finance their degrees in a way that complies with Islamic law.
Under some interpretations of Islamic law, the acquisition of loans – particularly those which accrue interest – is forbidden. The new system requires graduates who earn above £21,000 to pay interest levels of up to 3 per cent above inflation. The National Union of Students (NUS) has warned it could be two years before a suitable system is arranged.
A spokesman for the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) called the rate increase a "pressing issue".
"Under Islamic law interest is seen as something that is prohibited," he said. "Previously, the interest was at the market rate of inflation. The problem now is that the interest is above the market rate. Because the rate of interest is above the rate of inflation, it is quite blatant usury."
Mohammed Ahmed-Sheikh, 17, a student at Southfields Community College said increased tuition fees will deter him from applying to university next year: "The fees are the reason I'm having doubts. I'm Muslim and loans are against my religion."
Some have claimed to have been forced to abandon certain principles required by their faith in order to attend university.
Ahmad Mitoubsi, 21, who graduated from Durham in July, said: "We've just had to adapt to the British system, or else I couldn't have gone to uni."
The FOSIS said it was working with the NUS to formulate a solution. One idea being considered is a new kind of loan scheme which could see education "rented" in a similar manner to Islamic mortgages, where banks buy properties and then lease them to the customer in a rental agreement.
Change is not likely to be quick, however, and in the meantime university will be unattainable for some Muslim young people who are unable to turn to family or friends for funding. Usman Ali, the NUS Vice-President for Higher Education, said: "It is important that we ensure complete equity for Islamic students but disappointingly the final framework looks unlikely to be in place until the 2013/14 academic year."
The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills confirmed that the student groups were in negotiation with their officials but emphasised: "There's still a little way to go."
More than a third of English universities are due to charge students fees of £9,000 as a standard from 2012, while almost three fifths of them will charge the maximum for at least one of their undergraduate courses.
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Bangkok Bomb: Thai police name Adem Karadag as suspect arrested over blast that killed 20
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 5 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
Negotiable: AER Teachers: Outstanding East London primary school seeking an Ea...
Negotiable: AER Teachers: Southwark primary School looking for teaching assist...
£24,451 - £27,061 per annum: Royal College of Music: The Royal College of Musi...
£35 - £45k DOE + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing / Optimisation Analyst is...