In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the network of Islamic banking and finance (IBF) came under scrutiny from the FBI, the Department of the Treasury, and other U.S. government agencies that sought to freeze any financial transactions that might be linked to global terrorism. Despite this scrutiny, the IBF continues to provide an essential financial network to many devout Muslims, many of whom turn to the IBF to help finance home ownership, college loans, automobile loans, and interest-free business loans.
With an award from the Foundation, William Maurer will expand his research on Islamic banking and finance by detailing how IBF finances home ownership in an era where hostility towards Muslims is high. His research will focus on four specific themes: 1) the emergence of a folk political theory among IBF professionals that home ownership will lead to greater political participation among American Muslims; 2) the creation of new, mortgage-like products in the Islamic banking community; 3) the challenge of auditing Islamic home mortgage alternatives; and 4) the development of advertising techniques that target specific niche markets for the Islamic financial products. To illustrate these four points, Maurer will collect and analyze related archival and qualitative data and interview 45-60 Islamic banking and finance professionals.
Maurer's book, Pious Property: Islamic Mortgages in the United States, was published by the Russell Sage Foundation in January 2006.