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On the Thin Line Between Good Intentions and Creating Tensions: A View on Gender Programmes in Muslim Contexts and the (Potential) Position of Islamic Aid Organisations

Listed author(s):
  • Bruno De Cordier

    (Conflict Research Group, Centre for Third World Studies, Ghent University, Ghent)

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    The relationship between religion and development remains a contentious issue, especially when it comes to the position of women in the Muslim world. Western and international gender approaches encounter the limits of their effectiveness and legitimacy for reasons that have as much to do with global political factors as well as contextual issues. Adequate gender approaches often require engagement with social actors and with the culture ‘as they are’, including religious actors, even if the values they espouse are often considered incompatible with international standards, or they do not correspond to the kinds of partners that many Western actors and local secular elites desire. Is there an Islamic alternative in this regard? Through three case studies set in majority Muslim contexts characterised by a high degree of social mobility, this article looks into the question of how and to what extent Islamic faith-based aid organisations anticipate or tackle such challenges.Le lien entre religion et développement reste une question controversée, particulièrement lorsqu’il s’agit de la situation des femmes dans le monde musulman. La légitimité et l’efficacité des approches occidentales et internationales quant aux questions de genres sont limitées en raison aussi bien de facteurs politiques mondiaux que de facteurs contextuels. Il est souvent nécessaire d’aborder la question des différences de genre en collaborant avec les acteurs sociaux ‘tels qu’ils sont’ – et ceci comprend les acteurs religieux – et en prenant compte et du context culturel, même si les valeurs associées à celui-ci sont souvent considérées comme incompatibles avec les normes internationales, et même s’ils ne correspondent pas aux types de partenaires avec lesquels les acteurs occidentaux et élites laïques locales souhaitent s’associer. Existe-t-il une alternative islamique à cet égard? Cet article se base sur trois études de cas réalisées dans des contextes majoritairement musulmans caractérisés par un fort degré de mobilité sociale afin d’examiner comment et dans quelle mesure les organisations musulmanes d’aide au développement anticipent et abordent de tels défis.

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    Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan & European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) in its journal European Journal of Development Research.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (April)
    Pages: 234-251

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    Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:22:y:2010:i:2:p:234-251
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