Islamic aid in a North Malian enclave
in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
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This chapter is the result of a visit in 2006 to observe the work of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) in the Timbuktu region of Northern Mali, whose struggling economy was at that time benefiting from a short period of peace in the "Tuareg rebellions". IRW’s local headquarters was based in the remote town of Gourma Rharous. The chapter describes its remarkable integration with the local community, and its commitment to staying there rather than moving on like some other aid agencies have done. Since Islam is deeply embedded in Malian life, this chapter provides a positive example of "cultural proximity", i.e. the proposition that a Faith Based Organization can have a privileged access to beneficiaries who share the same religious culture.

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