What next for the Middle East? Re-reading history, re-visioning future possibilities of positive action

Rana Jawad

in Social welfare and religion in the Middle East

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9781861349538
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303510 | DOI:
What next for the Middle East? Re-reading history, re-visioning future possibilities of positive action

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This chapter discusses the practical implications of religious welfare for social policy, specifically in the Middle East. It advances some policy recommendations for Lebanon but also considers the prospects for religious welfare gaining more formal status in the social policy literature and having a more effective role in public policy in the Middle East. The chapter also addresses the increasing impression that religion is a negative force in public policy in the region and a threat to global security. It seeks to clarify what value religion holds for social policy. It bases its argument for the Middle East on key examples from the literature on the politics of North America and Western Europe where religious organisations have played a prominent role in the development of democracy, and in the heritage of the welfare state. While there are differing arguments as to whether or not the Middle East needs or has already gone through its own Reformation, the chapter points out that, regardless of the global politics and the agendas of global actors, religious organisations in the Middle East will continue to do their part and serve their populations. The core of this chapter is on the traditional disjunction between private religion and public policy. It also suggests that faith-based organisations (FBOs) need to be considered as valid partners in civil society as they have a key part in the democratic history of major countries.

Keywords: religious welfare; social policy; Middle East; Lebanon; religion; global politics; religious organisations; private religion; public policy; faith-based organisations

Chapter.  5025 words. 

Subjects: Sociology of Religion

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