In an interesting plea against student loan collectors, a man who practices Islam told the collectors that while he was born into the Islamic faith, when he signed the contracts for federal student loans, he was not a practicing Muslim. Now, he says, he is — and his religion forbids him to pay interest on his loans.
The Seattle, Washington, man who goes by “Amir” wrote to Steve Rhode, “The Get Out Of Debt Guy,” and detailed his unique difficulty.
“I had two citi-student loans and at some point in time within the last 5 years they went to Navient.”
Amir explained that he had unsuccessfully asked the loan servicing company to reduce his payoff amount to $32,000, even though the actual amount he owes is $64,000 “because of deferment and interest.” Amir says that when he took renewed interest in the Muslim faith in 2012, he learned that he was strictly forbidden to deal with interest on loans as a tenement of the religion. Amir wrote that he was willing to pay exactly the amount he owed with no interest.
“I am offering to pay off the original amount I owe. My awareness and conditions have changed since I took this student loan. Can I get the interest wiped out and close this account and case with just paying the original amount borrowed?”
But Steve Rhode was having none of it. Rhode bluntly told Amir to learn a lesson and that the “damage caused by deferment” was a huge problem, and no lender was going to be swayed due to religious views.
“Asking any lender to adjust their terms and conditions after the fact for religious reasons is just not going to happen. The damage caused by deferment is enormous because accruing interest just puts the debt in turbo.”
Navient is the loan company formerly known as Sallie Mae, which came under massive heat during the economic crash in 2006. Rhode said that Sallie Mae is willing to work with people through expert loan mediators, but otherwise, late fees and deferment will be brutal.
Rhode said this isn’t the first time he’s dealt with the situation of a person of Islamic faith having a religious problem with paying interest on a loan. Rhode also noted that Amir’s mosque might be able to help with the financial funding for his loans from Zakat, which is “obligatory charity for Muslim followers.”
Rhode even consulted an imam on this issue and was told that Muslims who choose to borrow with interest on any type of loan “are obligated to repay their entire debt and if they don’t they will be prohibited from entering paradise when they die,” according to Daily Caller. This may not be what Amir wanted to hear, but Steve Rhode was simply giving him the straight facts.
Readers, what do you think? Should Muslims be allowed to get out of interest on loans due to religious views?