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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

Welfare and relief activities and efforts in the Middle East, like other regions, involve ideas and practices of improving people's lives. These activities include charitable acts, benevolence, and philanthropy and are performed or carried out by states, secular and religious institutions, and individuals. Studies and debates regarding past and ongoing welfare activities in the Middle East have focused mostly on religious doctrine and political positioning, yet few have examined how welfare is an endlessly evolving enactment of gender, family, local practices, community and state relationships. The global politics of welfare involves not only the uneven allocation of access to humanitarianism, but also moral and political impact and involvement in what is seen by many as a merging of aggression and humanitarianism in the name of freedom and faith. This chapter presents an overview of how the other chapters of the book are organised.

Keywords:humanitarianism; Middle Eastern history; religious doctrine; social politics; welfare activities

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