A college student in Seattle, Washington, reached out to debt experts for help on how to get out of paying interest on his student loans, saying that it was his Muslim faith that prevented him from doing so.
“I had two citi-student loans and at some point in time within the last five years, they went to Navient,” college student Amir wrote in a letter to Steve Rhode, an online financial expert.
Amir explained that his original loans, which totaled $32,000, had gone up to $64,000 when they transferred because of deferment and interest. He then went on to say that his Muslim faith, which he "never knew much about" until recently, "strictly" forbids any dealings with interest.
“I am offering to pay off the original amount I owe[;] however[,] due to religious reasons[,] I would like them to recognize that my awareness and conditions have changed from the time of originally accepting the loan,” he said.
Amir then requested Rhode’s help with finding an attorney that would back his case and help to erase the interest payments that accrued on his loans.
Rhode, known as the “Get Out Of Debt Guy,” replied to Amir’s letter and informed him that he would have no choice but to pay what he owed in full — interest included.
“Asking any lender to adjust their terms and conditions after the fact for religious reasons is just not going to happen,” he said. Rhode also pointed out that, according to an imam, Muslims who took out loans with interest “are obligated to repay their entire debt.”
“If they don't[,] they will prohibited from entering paradise when they die,” he said.
“You’ve also learned a painful lesson, the damage caused by deferment is enormous,” Rhode continued. “Most people think it is an innocent time not to make payments and get a payment vacation. In fact[,] it just puts the debt in turbo and the interest causes the balances to explode.”