David Ward, MP for Bradford East, has welcomed the Government’s announcement that it is consulting on the proposals for an alternative student finance product to ensure all young Muslim students have the opportunity to go to university.
The Department of Business and Skills is consulting on the feasibility of proposals to introduce a Sharia compliant form of student financing.
Since 2011, the Government has been working with experts in Sharia-compliant finance to develop a model alternative student finance product based on the principles of Islamic finance, which would be compliant with Sharia law and has identical repayments to the conventional student loan system.
Mr Ward (Lib Dem) said: “This is not about treating people differently, but making different financial products available to suit different circumstances to enable everyone to afford to go to University.
“The most important aspect of this product is that no student will in anyway be disadvantaged or advantaged over a student who took out a traditional student loan.
"Both the size of the finance and the repayment amounts would be equivalent between the two systems.
“Sharia compliant start-Up Loans for small business have already been introduced and I see this as another important step in making sure that no matter what your faith may be, all people can have access to funding to work hard and succeed.
“Constituents have raised this issue with me and I have discussed their concerns with the Secretary of State, Vince Cable and met with officials in his Department to look at the efforts being made to resolve the problem.
“This consultation is about measuring demand and suitability of the Government’s proposals so I would encourage people to take part in this consultation and give their views,” he said.