Barriers to Sharia-Acceptable Microfinance Financing in the Twin Cities

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Barriers to Sharia-Acceptable Microfinance Financing in the Twin Cities

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The alternative finance movement for interest adverse Muslim-Somali individuals in the Twin Cities faces a critical moment in its history. As poverty rates of the Muslim-Somali community are on the rise in the Twin Cities, public skepticism of Islamic finance is growing and vested local and regional stakeholders are increasingly finding themselves in a complex system and all have varying definitions of the root causes of the issue. This report provides an analytic summary of the current challenges within the Islamic finance movement in the Twin Cities. Methods of analysis include in-depth, semi-structured interviews with fourteen individuals representative of several key stakeholder groups: (1) community development organizations, (2) entrepreneurs, (3) Islamic financial scholars, (4) banks and other financial institutions, (5) city officials, and (6) major philanthropic foundations in the Twin Cities. Field notes from each interview were analyzed using an inductive coding technique to identify major themes and sub-themes. The set of preliminary recommendations at the end of the report are aimed at cultivating a greater collaborative advantage amongst invested stakeholders and increasing New American Development Center’s (NADC) effectiveness in the Twin Cities region to ultimately support interest-averse East African Somalis in Minnesota.

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Conducted on behalf of New American Development Center. Supported by the Kris Nelson Community-Based Research Program, a program of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota.

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Voller, Vanessa. (2018). Barriers to Sharia-Acceptable Microfinance Financing in the Twin Cities. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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