The role of religion in the formation of cross-community relationships

Spiritual life is a priority in many conflict-affected communities, perhaps especially in situations of displacement. It is rarely prioritised by aid agencies, yet may be central to the formation and maintaining of strong and effective cross-community relationships. 

Author: Atallah FitzGibbon, Sadia Kidwai, Lucy V. Moore
Country: International
Category: Forced Migration

Questions around migration, the treatment of forced migrants and cross-community relationships between host and forced migrant groups are deeply embedded within Islamic history. From an Islamic perspective, cross-community relationships are facilitated by a mutual recognition of the dignity and honour that God bestows on forced migrants for their fortitude in escaping persecution or deprivation, and on their hosts for their generosity of spirit.

A crucial aspect of maintaining this dignity is in ensuring that neither the vulnerability of the migrants nor the generosity of the hosts is exploited. While there is a rich tradition within Islam of hosting migrants this tradition is not often invoked by Muslim faith-based organisations (FBOs) in their work. Calls for action and support for forced migrants tend rather to be based on general Islamic obligations to give charity, while the individual religious motivations of staff within Islamic Relief (IR) focus on the need to care for the vulnerable, rather than invoking the Islamic history of care for migrants.

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