A controversial study looking at Islamic banking by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has ignited protest from some sectors of the Muslim community.

But despite opposition from the Muslim Canadian Congress, the federal housing authority said yesterday it is going forward with the study looking at banking that adheres to Islam's guiding body of rules, or sharia.

Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, which bills itself as a progressive Muslim group, said in an interview he was "shocked" to learn that "a Crown corporation is using taxpayers' money" for faith-based banking.

Fatah calls sharia banking the "biggest con job ever. What are we going to have next, Buddhist banking?" he asked.

The congress released a letter yesterday written to CMHC chief executive officer Karen Kinsley, urging the housing authority to abandon the $100,000 study.

"Religion has no place in the banking or mortgage industry," the letter said.

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