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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
Jonathan Benthall

philanthropy in other regions: for example, Amy Singer’s Charity in Islamic Societies (2008), though authoritative on the Middle Ages and the Ottoman Empire, falls short of covering the turbulence of the present day. In the Muslim world as a whole, we find a wide variety of different implementations of zakat, the Islamic tithe, varying from full

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
Jonathan Benthall

to Palestinian zakat committees, there was no persuasive evidence that these committees were facades for Hamas. Judge Crotty’s judgments included the puzzling comment that my evidence, ‘while objectively illuminating, provides little comfort to the Court that Ramadan, subjectively, lacked the requisite knowledge’. But on behalf of the ACLU I wrote the letter, reproduced below

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
Abstract only
Jonathan Benthall

– a problem, dating back to the Serbo-Turkish war of 1876, which remains delicate even today for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. This led to field research in Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, Oman and, later, Algeria to investigate the extensive Islamic literature on zakat, originally the Islamic tithe; ṣ adaqa, optional charity; and waqf (plural awqāf ), the equivalent

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
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Boim versus the Holy Land Foundation
Jonathan Benthall

This chapter follows broadly the conventions of a legal journal, since it was first published in the UCLA Journal of Near Eastern and Islamic Law in 2010–11. It argues that the US legal system could do more to demonstrate its fairness with regard to Islamic charities. To complement my argument, let us assume that the Palestinian zakat committees

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times

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

. *** The quest for purity In 2009, I paid a visit with a Swiss colleague to the president of an Islamic charitable committee in the Palestinian West Bank, a Fatah nominee, shortly after a reorganization and centralization of the West Bank zakat committees that had been effected at the end of 2007 following the Fatah/Hamas split (Schaeublin 2009 : 49

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
Abstract only
Jonathan Benthall

International Development, which is £10–11 billion. The funding available for Islamic Relief and similar charities could be vastly increased if an efficient international system for organizing zakat were to be introduced. However, already Islamic Relief is poised to grow into a truly transnational NGO. This results in administrative problems comparable to those already experienced by Médecins Sans

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
Jonathan Benthall

zakat (mandatory alms) and waqf (the Islamic charitable foundation), in their references to the religious calendar and quotations from the Qur’an and hadiths, and in their special concern for orphans and refugees. Two books on Islamic charities have been published recently by university presses in the genre of counter-terrorist studies (Burr and Collins 2006 ; Levitt 2006 ). 2

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
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Jonathan Benthall

the principles of Islamic charity: he inspired followers to open their wallets for the relief of suffering as a religious duty. But, as was noted in The Charitable Crescent , ‘The career of this key figure illustrates an interpenetration between different fields: religious militancy, intellectual expertise in Islamic law and zakat, business and social work, considered as

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times