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Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 15:55 GMT
Princely loans for Muslims
Prince's Trust
Loans are advertised on the Prince's Trust website
The Prince of Wales has visited Oldham in Greater Manchester to see how a ruling by a Muslim leader might help young people give themselves a better start in life.

Young Muslims have historically been reluctant to start up their own businesses with loans, because paying interest goes against their faith.

But under a new ruling, young Muslims will be allowed to take financial help from the Prince's Trust, which will charge an "administration fee" instead of interest.

Sheikh Nizam Yaquby, a shariah scholar in Bahrain, is signalling the new arrangement, which is being formally announced by the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Yousouf Bhailok.

Fewer obstacles

The deputy director of the Groundwork Trust in Higginshaw, Oldham, Safraz Arfan, said: "It would be a percentage of Muslims who would look very closely at this.

"Certainly it is a way of engaging a sector of the community who wouldn't go to your normal high street lender and take out a commercial loan.

"It means that they would have an opportunity to start up a business without having to contend with a lot of the obstacles or barriers which could be presented to them through the financial systems."

Prince Charles has met five young entrepreneurs who have taken advantage of Prince's Trust loans to set up businesses.

Three of them are Muslims.

Joking Prince

The Prince also opened a new 6.5m project at the Royal Oldham Hospital.

He toured the new medical block's endoscopy, general medical and haematology wards, and meet the contractors and architects involved.

As he left the hospital, the Prince said: "As somebody who has reached the age when I'm told I have to have one of those dreadful colonoscopies, I was trying to find out from the patients just what they are like.

"I think I shall run very, very fast in the opposite direction."

He has also met a team of Asian women working on herb boxes as part of a 12-week retraining project.

When he was presented with a bird box by six-year-old Shifaa Arfan, he said: "This will be a very nice addition.

"Do you know how many of these I have got?

"I've got 80 of these all over the place but this will be terrific, marvellous."


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See also:

15 Nov 01 | England
Campaigners rally against BNP
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