Muslim students in Britain are protesting government reforms to higher education that would raise tuition and increase interest rates on student loans.
Muslims say the changes are discriminatory because Islamic Sharia law prohibits them from paying interest on student loans. They are now demanding that the British government put in place a scheme that would enable Muslim students to finance their degrees in a way that complies with Islamic principles.
The dispute over interest-bearing student loans follows stepped-up demands for Sharia-compliant banking and insurance as well as credit cards, mortgages and pension funds. Taken together, they reflect the gradual establishment of parallel Islamic financial and legal systems in Britain and other parts of Europe.
A long-awaited review of higher education in Britain, also known as the Lord Browne Report, recently concluded that raising tuition and shifting the financial burden from taxpayers to graduates was the best way to ensure the financial sustainability of the British university system.