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The Saroya family: Balancing age-old beliefs and modern life
by George Mannes
Kashif Saroya held out against getting a credit card for as long as he could. As a Muslim, he was mindful of the prohibition in the Qur'an, Islam's holiest book, against paying or receiving riba, usually understood as interest. That meant no plastic.
But just saying no to credit in a country that runs on it was a lot harder than Saroya anticipated - as he learned one day in 2003, five years after leaving Pakistan to study and work in the U.S.
The Minneapolis resident needed to rent a car to pick up his parents, who were flying to America to visit him for the first time. But the rental agent wouldn't hand over the vehicle without a credit card. Panicked that he'd leave his parents stranded, Kashif got a friend to rent the car and let him sign on as a second driver. A few days later he applied for his own Visa. Just in case.
Saroya and his wife, Lori, both 28, constantly feel the tug between their desire to adhere to the teachings of Islam and the practical realities of life in the modern U.S.
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