Adam Serwer wrote today about a Minnesota program that offered mortgages compliant with Islamic law, structured to avoid interest payments. The program was a response to then-Governor Tim Pawlenty’s push to increase minority home-ownership, and Serwer speculates that Pawlenty may find himself pushing back on the growing fears among Republicans that programs like this could somehow expand Islamic law in America.
But a Pawlenty spokesman told me that the governor has no intention of defending the program — and that in fact, he shut it down himself as soon as he learned of it.
“This program was independently set up by the Minnesota state housing agency and did not make any mention Sharia Law on its face, but was later described as accommodating it,” the spokesman, Alex Conant, said. “As soon as Gov. Pawlenty became aware of the issue, he personally ordered it shut it down. Fortunately, only about three people actually used the program before it was terminated at the Governor’s direction.”
Pawlenty’s objection: “The United States should be governed by the U.S. Constitution, not religious laws,” Conant said.