In an attempt to alleviate the financial hardships that have affected federal employees during what is now the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, members of Madison’s Muslim community have made interest-free loans available to those workers struggling to pay their bills.
The coordinator of this project, Masood Akhtar, is an Indian-born American Muslim entrepreneur and activist. Akhtar has been living in Madison for over 30 years and is actively involved with numerous community projects.
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According to Akhtar, individuals in the local Muslim community have raised $50,000 to lend.
In order to receive the interest-free loan, affected federal employees must email Akhtar with their contact information, employer’s information, the purpose of the loan and how they plan to pay back the loan once the federal government reopens. Additionally, repayment schedules can be flexible and there are currently no banks or organizations involved.
Akhtar said he wants to keep these a “person-to-person initiative.”
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“We, as Muslims, believe that all Wisconsinites are like one body,” Akhtar said. “If one party of the body aches, the rest of the body feels pain. We just want to make sure that these employees know that we are feeling their pain as well and we will help them out as much as possible in these tough times. We are confident that others will join our effort to help these employees also.”
Akhtar commented that since the program was first made public this morning by the Wisconsin State Journal, more donors have contacted him as well as two employees from Wisconsin and even one from Philadelphia.
For more information about contributing or to apply for a loan, email Akhtar at [email protected].