Some sanity prevails

Yesterday the Dutch Belastingdienst (tax service) put a big fat red line through plans to introduce hala mortgages in the Netherlands. Esther from Islam in Europe has the goods.

The reason for rejecting the halal mortgage are technical, not ideological (which would have been very, very surprising). In the Netherlands, as in other countries around the western world, the interest paid on a mortgage is tax-deductible. Thus the average home owner pays less in net monthly mortgage and insurance costs, some 200 - 400 euros worth, even. This measure should give people with a lower income the opportunity to buy a house (it is also responsible, according to real estate economists, of a 20% overvaluation of houses in NL, but we'll let that slide).

A halal mortgage is a halal mortgage, because no interest is paid, supposedly in keeping with the Koran forbidding usury. Instead, a pre-arranged profit on the loan is agreed upon and put into contract. Trying to have it both ways, the suppliers of halal mortgages thought this profit could be tax-deductible in the same way as interest on civilized mortgages.

The Belastingdienst, notorious sticklers for the rules if it means they can avoid repaying tax-income, decided that since an halal mortgage does not contain interest, there is nothing to deduct. This in turn makes halal mortgages much more expensive then civilized mortgages, prohibitively so for much of their target-clientele. For the rest the difference is so large that it would take a measure of religious masochism not given to many, to grin and bear the costs. Dead in the water, as they say...

And now we wait for some MP, probably from the PvdA, to introduce legislation that will end this scandalous bit of racism (yes Virginia, that was sarcasm).

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