OTTAWA — In an economy awash in easy credit, Ottawa's leading imam is definitely swimming against the tide.Such altruism.
Imam Khaled Abdul-Hamid Syed has issued a fatwa against credit cards, even if they are paid off every month.
"I conclude that it contains usury . . . which is forbidden in Islam, so it should not be used," Syed said in a mass e-mail to members of the city's main mosque.
Islam has always banned interest for the same reason usury is condemned in other faiths: it can sink debtors, even whole economies, as recent years have shown.
"It's to protect people from falling in a lot of debt," the imam said in an interview.
"Interest is demeaning to people," added Ismail Barreh, an MBA student at the University of Ottawa who sat in on the conversation. "They are in need, and then you can take advantage of them."
It is about altruism, right, iman?
"We have different nationalities, different opinions, different cultures here (in Ottawa). This is a problem here."Indeed. And sharia law? You might call it the great common denominator.