International Development Planning Review

Connecting to the umma through Islamic relief: transnational Islamic NGOs in Chad

International Development Planning Review (2011), 33, (4), 463–474.

Abstract

This paper argues that if the activities of Islamic NGOs from the Arab world in Africa are evaluated merely in terms of their local economic development impact, there is a risk of missing an important point. While it is true that the scope of these interventions and the amount of money involved are generally much less than the western aid industry channels to Africa, they can also generally be considered rather 'traditional' from a western point of view, focused as they usually are more on offering concrete relief and material facilities than on 'capacity building'. These Islamic NGOs, however, offer not only material relief but also new ways of connecting to the wider umma, the global community of the faithful – with consequences both on the local and the global level. This will be illustrated by an analysis of the work of transnational Islamic NGOs in Chad and the ways in which this new connectivity works out in the Chadian case. It is argued that an 'outward looking' translocal perspective on development offers more fruitful ways than an 'inward looking' localised perspective, to capture processes of development and social change in a globalising world.

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ALTERMAN, J. B. and K. VON HIPPEL (eds) (2007), Understanding Islamic Charities, Washington, DC, CSIS Press. Google Scholar

AMA (AGENCE DES MUSULMANS D'AFRIQUE) (2002), Rapport annuel d'activité année 2001, N'Djamena, AMA Bureau du Tchad. Google Scholar

ARDITI, C. (2003), 'Les Violences ordinaires ont une histoire: le cas du Tchad', Politique Africaine, 91, 51–67. Les Violences ordinaires ont une histoire: le cas du Tchad Politique Africaine 91 51 67 Google Scholar

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BOGGERO, M. (2009), 'Darfur and Chad: a fragmented ethnic mosaic', Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 27, 21–35. Darfur and Chad: a fragmented ethnic mosaic Journal of Contemporary African Studies 27 21 35 Google Scholar

ELLIS, S. (2003), 'Briefing: West Africa and its oil', African Affairs, 102, 135–138. Briefing: West Africa and its oil African Affairs 102 135 138 Google Scholar

FERGUSON, J. (2006), Global Shadows. Africa in the Neoliberal World Order, Durham and London, Duke University Press. Global Shadows. Africa in the Neoliberal World Order Google Scholar

GHANDOUR, A.-R. (2002), Jihad Humanitare. Enquête sur les ONG Islamiques, Paris, Flammarion. Jihad Humanitare. Enquête sur les ONG Islamiques Google Scholar

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GRANDIN, N. (1993), 'Al Merkaz al-islami al-afriqi bi'l-Khartoum. La République du Soudan et la propagation de l'Islam en Afrique Noire (1977–1991)', in R. Otayek (ed.), Le Radicalisme Islamique au Sud du Sahara, Paris, Karthala. Al Merkaz al-islami al-afriqi bi'l-Khartoum. La République du Soudan et la propagation de l'Islam en Afrique Noire (1977–1991) Le Radicalisme Islamique au Sud du Sahara Google Scholar

GUYER, J. (2002), 'Briefing: the Chad–Cameroon petroleum and pipeline development project', African Affairs, 101, 109–115. Briefing: the Chad–Cameroon petroleum and pipeline development project African Affairs 101 109 115 Google Scholar

HADDAD, S. (2000), 'La Politique Africaine de la Libye: de la tentation impériale à la stratégie unitaire', Monde Arabe. Maghreb-Machrek, 170, 29–38. La Politique Africaine de la Libye: de la tentation impériale à la stratégie unitaire Monde Arabe. Maghreb-Machrek 170 29 38 Google Scholar

HUNWICK, J. (1997), 'Sub-Saharan Africa and the wider world of Islam: historical and contemporary perspectives', in D. Westerlund and E. E. Rosander (eds), African Islam and Islam in Africa. Encounters between Sufis and Islamists, London, Hurst and Co. Sub-Saharan Africa and the wider world of Islam: historical and contemporary perspectives African Islam and Islam in Africa. Encounters between Sufis and Islamists Google Scholar

KAAG, M. (2007), 'Aid, Umma and politics: transnational Islamic NGOs in Chad', in R. Otayek and B. Soares (eds), Muslim Politics in Africa, New York, Palgrave Macmillan. Google Scholar

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MACRAE, J. and A. HARMER (eds) (2003), Monitoring Trends in Humanitarian Action: Humanitarian Action After September 11th, London, Overseas Development Institute Humanitarian Policy Group. Monitoring Trends in Humanitarian Action: Humanitarian Action After September 11th Google Scholar

PEGG, S. (2009), 'Briefing: chronicle of a death foretold: the collapse of the Chad–Cameroon pipeline project', African Affairs, 108, 311–320. Briefing: chronicle of a death foretold: the collapse of the Chad–Cameroon pipeline project African Affairs 108 311 320 Google Scholar

PETERSEN, M. J. (2011), 'Islamizing aid: transnational Muslim NGOs after 9.11', Voluntas, International Journal of Voluntary and Non-Profit Organizations, 1–30. Islamizing aid: transnational Muslim NGOs after 9.11 Voluntas, International Journal of Voluntary and Non-Profit Organizations 1 30 Google Scholar

ROSANDER, E. E. (1997), 'Introduction: the Islamization of "Tradition" and "Modernity"', in D. Westerlund and E. E. Rosander (eds), African Islam and Islam in Africa. Encounters between Sufis and Islamists, London, Hurst and Co. Introduction: the Islamization of "Tradition" and "Modernity" African Islam and Islam in Africa. Encounters between Sufis and Islamists Google Scholar

SOARES, B. (2005), Islam and the Prayer Economy. History and Authority in a Malian Town, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press. Islam and the Prayer Economy. History and Authority in a Malian Town Google Scholar

SOUNAYE, A. (2011), 'Doing development the Islamic way in Niger', in M. Kaag and M. Saint-Lary (eds), Religious Elites in the Development Arena. Between Cooperation and Rivalry, Discourse and Action, special issue APAD Bulletin No. 39. Google Scholar

TERDMAN, M. and R. PAZ (2007), 'Islamization and da'wah in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa: the case of the African Muslim Agency (AMA)', African Occasional Papers 1.2, July. Herzliya, Israel, Project for the Research of Islamist Movements (PRISM). Google Scholar

UNDP (UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME) (2010), Human Development Report, 2010, Washington DC, UNDP. Google Scholar

WEISS, H. (2002), Social Welfare in Muslim Societies in Africa, Uppsala, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet. Social Welfare in Muslim Societies in Africa Google Scholar

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Kaag, Mayke

Kaag, Mayke