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The Charitable Crescent: Politics of Aid in the Muslim World

Thursday November 25th 2010 @ 10 am (Tea & coffee served from 9:30)
Centre for Anthropology, British Museum

This is a free event.

The British Museum’s Centre for Anthropology, in collaboration with the Royal Anthropological Institute, is delighted to present for the first seminar of the series a discussion between, Jonathan Benthall, author of The Charitable Crescent and Dr Jon Mitchell who reviewed the work for the JRAI.

Since 9/11, Islamic charities have been in the firing line. Some portray the entire sector as a conduit for terrorist financing. In this new updated edition of their groundbreaking work, The Charitable Crescent, Jérôme Bellion-Jourdan and Jonathan Benthall provide a radical new perspective on the whole issue of aid and Islamic finance. They explore the social and political history of zakat and waqf, and in so doing challenge Western assumptions about the nature of humanitarianism.

The authors outline the impact of the “War on Terror,” and argue that obstacles set up against financial transfers in conflict zones can have the unintended result of driving terrorist financing further underground, as well as depriving victims of much needed assistance.

Islamic charities will continue to play a pivotal role in world politics as they respond to crises in the Middle East, Pakistan, Indonesia and elsewhere. This thoughtful and meticulously researched book is the one indispensable guide to the issues surrounding this complicated and misunderstood phenomenon.

Jonathan Benthall is the former director of the RAI (1974-2000) and founding editor of Anthropology Today.
Dr. Jon Mitchell is currently Reader in Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex.

Enquiries/Bookings: Jasmine Wakeel (jwakeel@thebritishmuseum.ac.uk)