Dozens of Muslims lose life savings to real estate developerwwe.freedigital


150 investors file involuntary bankruptcy petition in federal court seeking to freeze Chicago company’s assets

When a religious leader stood before a hotel roomfull of Muslims four years ago and endorsed investment in a Chicago real-estate developer as complying with Islamic law, businessman Nadeem Sharafi decided to invest.

Little did he know that his efforts to use his money according to Islamic guidelines and avoid earning interest would lead him and his wife to lose more than $115,000, Sharafi said.

The Shariah Board of America’s approval of investing in Sunrise Equities led dozens of other Chicago-area Muslims—mostly Indians and some Pakistanis—to invest and lose hundreds of thousands of dollars with the company, which says it developed multiunit residential buildings in Chicago, the investors said.

Investors said they don’t know if the company suffered losses because of the declining real estate market or for other reasons. Salman Azam, an attorney hired by several investors, said Sunrise’s Chief Executive Officer Salman Ibrahim has not been seen since August. Sunrise’s offices off Devon Avenue are closed. At his home, mail spills out of his mailbox.

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