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Muslim Charity in a Non-Muslim Society—the Case of Switzerland

In: Journal of Muslims in Europe
Author:
Silvia Martens Universität Luzern, Akademische Dienste Frohburgstrasse 3, Postfach 4466, 6002 Luzern Universität Bern, Theologische Fakultät Länggassstrasse 51 3012 Bern Switzerland silvia.martens@unilu.ch

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Abstract

This article presents empirical data on trends in charitable giving among Muslims in Switzerland. It provides insight into mechanisms of mutual aid within a relatively young migrant community, looks at how Islamic charity is practiced in a non-Muslim society, and clarifies the importance of Islamic aid agencies. I argue that the charitable behaviour of Muslims in Switzerland is characterized by their migration situation, and by giving preferences and habits of the home country. Traditional Islamic charity, though subject to changes, is widely practiced and actively promoted by Islamic charities and local Muslim associations. It enforces the sense of religious belonging and group identity.

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