Charitable Crescent: Politics of Aid in the Muslim World

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I.B.Tauris, Aug 22, 2003 - Political Science - 256 pages
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Islamic Charity Under Suspicion': such headlines have become familiar since the attacks on the United States on 9.11. The Charitable Crescent is a unique and original account of a hitherto little-known field of pivotal significance to our understanding of the Muslim world today: the relationship between politics and philanthropy in the workings of Islamic charities. Based on years of research, Jonathan Benthall and Jerome Bellion-Jourdan explain the long tradition of philanthropy in Muslim history and how it is constantly adapted to differing political contexts. The pervasive connections between charity and politics in the Middle East demonstrate how na´ve it is to think of humanitarianism as a sphere distinct from politics. The Charitable Crescent covers all aspects of this topic that has become so relevant in today’s world: who is entitled to benefit from Muslim alms? Can material relief aid be de-linked from political, or sometimes even violent, action? How can public trust (both Western and Islamic) in welfare delivery systems be won? Who is entitled to interpret Islamic doctrine? Is there one universal tradition of humanitarianism, or many traditions defined by cultural history? This book offers rich practical insights highly relevant to today’s highly tense international climate, and also encourages the reader to challenge the common Western assumption that 'we' are the exclusive providers of aid to rescue a passive Third World. "Interesting, rewarding and timely - this is an important book" - 'Caroline Moorhead.'
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Financial Worship
7
2 WAQF and Islamic Finance
29
3 Red Crescent Politics
45
4 Helping the Brothers
69
5 NGOs in the Contemporary Muslim World
85
6 Western Versus Islamic Aid?
111
7 The Balkan Case
128
Conclusion
153
Abbreviation
157
Glossary of Islamic and Arabic Terms
159
Notes
163
Bibliography
175
Index
187
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About the author (2003)

Jonathan Benthall is the former Director of the Royal Anthropological Institute, editor of "Anthropology Today," and author of "Disasters, Relief and the Medi"a. He is currently an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology, University College London, and former Chair of the International NGO Training and Research Centre, Oxford.
Jerome Bellion-Jourdan has a doctorate in Political Science from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques, Paris, and has been a research fellow at the Centre for International Studies and Research, Paris, and is a lecturer at Cairo University.