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EID CELEBRATION

Masood Akhtar, left, speaks with state Rep. Dianne Hesselbein, D-Middleton, during the Eid celebration at the Lussier Family Heritage Center in Madison last year. Akhtar is spearheading an effort to provide federal workers with loans during the partial government shutdown.

With the partial federal government shutdown in its fifth week, the area’s Muslim community is offering interest-free loans to affected federal workers in Wisconsin.

Individuals in the Muslim community raised $50,000 to lend to furloughed federal workers in Wisconsin who are struggling to pay their bills, said Masood Akhtar, coordinator of the project.

No other businesses or organizations have signed on to provide loans so far, but would be welcome if they did, he said.

“All Wisconsinites are like one body,” Akhtar said. “If one part of the body aches, the rest of the body feels pain. We just want to let our federal employees know that we are feeling their pain and we will try to help them out as much as possible.”

Workers can borrow up to $5,000 with flexible repayment schedules, he said.

Loans are available to any federal worker in need regardless of the worker’s religion, ethnicity or color, Akhtar said.

He said the application process would be simple. Borrowers would need to provide basic information for the promissory note like the reason for the loan, the requested amount, its use and how it would be repaid when the government reopens.

The interest-free loan agreement would be between the borrower and one donor, he said.

For more information, to ask about contributing or to apply for a loan, email Akhtar at makhtar623@gmail.com.

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Chris Aadland is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.