Update: IMF loan violates Sharia, says Nour Party

The government should not borrow from the International Monetary Fund to boost the country’s cash reserve, the Salafi Nour Party stated on Wednesday.

 “Borrowing from abroad is usury,” said Younis Makhyoun, a member of the party’s supreme committee. “God will never bless an economy based on usury.”

Mahkyoun called on Prime Minister Hesham Qandil to find other ways to raise funds instead of “allowing foreigners to interfere in our affairs.”

The government should reduce spending, apply an austerity policy, set a maximum wage, apply Islamic regultations to stock exchange speculations and repatriate funds siphoned abroad, Makhyoun added.

This month Egypt and the World Bank signed off on a US$200 million project aimed at creating 250,000 jobs. They agreed on the loan in late June as the second part of a $300 million deal that began in 2011.

In May, the loan was rejected by Salafi lawmakers in the now-defunct Parliament, who claimed that the loan is against Sharia because it has interest rates that qualify as usury, or riba.

Islamic teaching highly prohibits usury, but moderate Islamic scholars say that interest rates established by banks are not considered usury.

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