In an article published by the International Review of the Red Cross (2016, 897/898), Lucy V. Salek, author of “Working in Conflict: A Faith Based Toolkit for Islamic Relief”, explores Islamic perspectives on humanitarian principles.
In recent years, there has been more and more interaction and engagement between “faith-based” organizations (FBOs) and secular humanitarian organizations. While humanitarian organizations operate under the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, it is often believed that faith-based organizations cannot be neutral or impartial due to their religious identity and agenda. Drawing on the research of Islamic Relief Worldwide, this article looks critically at connections that can be drawn between Islamic religious principles and those upheld as key to secular humanitarian action. The article outlines the Islamic maqasid al-Shari’ah framework as an example of how religious-based approaches can provide a basis for humanitarian action that is both relevant to Islamic communities and complementary to humanitarian principles.