The City of Minneapolis is joining with the African Development Center to offer a new financing option for small businesses, aimed primarily at Muslims.

The program allows Muslim Minnesotans, as well as others, to repay loans without traditional interest. Many Muslims avoid conventional loans because paying or receiving interest goes against their religious beliefs.

Instead of interest-based financing, the new alternative is profit-based.

Hussein Samatar, executive director of the African Development Center, says the new program benefits all Minnesotans.

“As Paul Wellstone used to say, we do better when we all do better; when we all have something, we’re a better community,” says Samatar. “When this community has access to capital, and they’re running businesses, buying homes, they are not only creating business for themselves, they are creating business for the community at large.”

Sabah Yusuf of the Aishah Center for Women works with small business owners to keep them informed about financing options.

“The reason these women do not go to mainstream banks is because of the interest. It’s really wonderful for the City of Minneapolis to say that we care enough to give back to the community, your religion and your beliefs,” says Yusef.


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