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 naive 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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