Islam, Charity, and Activism

Islam, Charity, and Activism

Middle-Class Networks and Social Welfare in Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen
Janine A. Clark
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/01/2004
Format: Paperback 2 figures, 1 index
ISBN: 978-0-253-21626-7
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Throughout the Middle East, Islamist charities and social welfare organizations play a major role in addressing the socioeconomic needs of Muslim societies, independently of the state. Through case studies of Islamic medical clinics in Egypt, the Islamic Center Charity Society in Jordan, and the Islah Women’s Charitable Society in Yemen, Janine A. Clark examines the structure and dynamics of moderate Islamic institutions and their social and political impact. Questioning the widespread assumption that such organizations primarily serve the poorer classes, Clark argues that these organizations in fact are run by and for the middle class. Rather than the vertical recruitment or mobilization of the poor that they are often presumed to promote, Islamic social institutions play an important role in strengthening social networks that bind middle-class professionals, volunteers, and clients. Ties of solidarity that develop along these horizontal lines foster the development of new social networks and the diffusion of new ideas.

Author Bio

Janine A. Clark is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Guelph and co-editor (with Remonda Bensabat-Kleinberg) of Economic Liberalization, Democratization, and Civil Society in the Developing World.


“Much of the literature on Islamic Social Institutions (ISIs) has argued that these institutions are recruiting grounds for the poor. Clark (Univ. of Guelph, Ca.), through case studies of ISIs in Egypt, Yemen, and Jordan takes this notion to task. . . . Her argument is clear and easy to follow, and the case studies are rich with supportive data. . . . Recommended. July 2004”
 — Choice

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Table of Contents

Preliminary Table of Contents:

List of Tables and Charts
Preface and Acknowledgments

1. Islamic Social Institutions, Social Movement Theory, and the Middle Classes
2. Islamic Medical Clinics in Egypt: The Operational Imperatives of ISIs and the Role of Middle Class Networks
3. The Islamic Center Charity Society in Jordan: The Benefits to the Middle Class
4. The Islah Charitable Society in Yemen: Women's Social Networks, Charity and Da'wa
5. The Significance of Being Middle Class