Developer who vowed to follow Muslim law may face bankruptcy


September 20, 2008

Investors who put money into a local real estate development company that promised to deliver returns compliant with Muslim religious rules have asked a court to force the company into bankruptcy.

The company, Sunrise Equities, recruited hundreds of Muslims, mostly from India, seeking Sharia-compliant investments, according to Salman Azam, an attorney who filed a petition in federal court Friday.

Sunrise used the money to build condos, including three buildings at 2140-52 W. Devon, and unfinished buildings at 24 S. Morgan and 2223 W. Madison. Sunrise also acquired land for a proposed 179-unit Lucien LaGrange-designed complex in the 4700 block of North Clarendon. The company does not answer its phones, and CEO Salman Ibrahim has not been seen since July, Azam said.

Sunrise marketed its investments as compliant with Sharia law, which bars the collection of interest. “They targeted very religious people who probably had a lot of cash on hand, and they got local religious clerics to go along,” Azam said. “Now many of them stand to lose their homes and life savings.”

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