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This book is the fruit of twenty years’ reflection on Islamic charities, both in practical terms and as a key to understand the crisis in contemporary Islam. On the one hand Islam is undervalued as a global moral and political force whose admirable qualities are exemplified in its strong tradition of charitable giving. On the other hand, it suffers from a crisis of authority that cannot be blamed entirely on the history of colonialism and stigmatization to which Muslims have undoubtedly been subjected – most recently, as a result of the "war on terror". The book consists of seventeen previously published chapters, with a general Introduction and new prefatory material for each chapter. The first nine chapters review the current situation of Islamic charities from many different viewpoints – theological, historical, diplomatic, legal, sociological and ethnographic – with first-hand data from the United States, Britain, Israel–Palestine, Mali and Indonesia. Chapters 10 to 17 expand the coverage to explore the potential for a twenty-first century "Islamic humanism" that would be devised by Muslims in the light of the human sciences and institutionalized throughout the Muslim world. This means addressing contentious topics such as religious toleration and the meaning of jihad. The intended readership includes academics and students at all levels, professionals concerned with aid and development, and all who have an interest in the future of Islam.

Jonathan Benthall

framework of a decision by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Political Division IV (PD IV) in 2004 to ‘make “religio-political conflicts” a new sector of activity of its peace promotion activities; in other words conflicts where the mix of religious and political factors is a determining factor. In this sphere of activity there is a special, albeit not exclusive

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
Jonathan Benthall

This review of Michael Cook’s Ancient Religions, Modern Politics: The Islamic case in comparative perspective (Princeton University Press, 2014) and Akeel Bilgrami’s Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment (Harvard University Press, 2014) was published in the Times Literary Supplement on 10 September 2014 under the heading ‘What

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
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Jonathan Benthall

This was published as a guest editorial in Anthropology Today , 29: 4, August 2013. An authoritative review of Akbar Ahmed’s The Thistle and the Drone was published by Malise Ruthven (Ruthven 2013b ). This book seems to me the finest of Akbar Ahmed’s many publications, blending a literary and religious sensibility with political and historical analysis, a

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
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Jonathan Benthall

politics’, whereas in fact Sufi leaders gave spiritual support to Middle East autocracies, in particular the al-Sisi regime that has taken power in Egypt. As regards ISNA, he had in mind especially the White House iftar (the evening meal during the holy month of Ramadan) on 14 July 2014, when President Obama spoke in support of Israel’s assault on Gaza without protest from his

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
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Jonathan Benthall

This chapter was originally the entry on Yusuf al-Qaradawi in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics (Oxford, 2014). A collection of articles edited by Gräf and Skovgaard-Petersen ( 2009 ) may be recommended for further reading. Since the encyclopedia went to press, tensions between Qaradawi and the al-Sisi government in Egypt were heightened after

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
The case of post-tsunami reconstruction in Aceh
Jonathan Benthall

Muslims in the area to work with them, leaving more fundamentalist groups to gain some ascendance in the wider population of Aceh (Marshall 2011a : 197). *** Most research to date on Islamic charities has given special attention to political aspects, which inevitably come to the fore in conflict zones and in areas of mixed religious affiliations

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
Jonathan Benthall

, reaffirming my opinion. Professor Nathan J. Brown, an American academic expert on Middle East politics, also wrote to Clinton in October 2010 in full support of the content of the affidavit. It cannot be demonstrated that submissions on behalf of the ACLU actually caused Clinton to exercise her discretionary authority on account of ‘national security and foreign policy

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
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Jonathan Benthall

Troubled times The level of turbulence in the Middle East is higher than at any time since the Suez Crisis of 1956, especially aggravated by ISIS’s ‘management of savagery’ ( Chapter 17 ). 1 Since the consequences of alliances may not be visible to the various parties, there is a risk of escalation as in 1914. In August 2013, the political

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
Jonathan Benthall

the support of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Political Division IV. The adverse interpretation of the zakat committees during this period, that they were simply fronts for Hamas, is held up to the light, and a more benign alternative interpretation is proposed. Throughout the text is faithful to the principle of open enquiry: that further evidence could

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times