Does Faith Matter: An Examination of Islamic Relief's Work with Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons
Matters related to religion and faith are often accorded great importance by refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), and faith-based organizations (FBOs) are increasingly playing a critical role in performing refugee support work in various parts of the world. Despite this, little academic work has been produced exploring the work of FBOs with refugees and IDPs. This article examines the experiences of one FBO in particular, Islamic Relief, which is involved in working with refugees and IDPs in various parts of the world. The experiences of this organization reveal the importance of faith both in terms of building trust amongst refugee communities as well as in facilitating a greater sensitivity to the spiritual needs of refugees. Examples cited demonstrate the possibilities of interfaith cooperation amongst FBOs and the importance of such cooperation in areas that have experienced conflict. Finally, the experiences of Islamic Relief also demonstrate the possible complications arising because of its faith-based status in certain contexts.
Refugee Survey Quarterly (2008) 27 (2) 41-50 [doi:10.1093/rsq/hdn032]