Handbook of Research on Development and Religion
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Handbook of Research on Development and Religion

Edited by Matthew Clarke

With eighty percent of the world’s population professing religious faith, religious belief is a common human characteristic. This fascinating and highly unique Handbook brings together state-of-the-art research on incorporating religion into development studies.
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Chapter 2: Islam as aid and development

Peter Riddell


Muslims are increasingly prominent in the discourse of international development assistance. Population projections foresee that by 2050, three of the six most populous nations in the world will have Muslim majorities (Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh), with the largest nation in terms of numbers, India, hosting a Muslim minority larger than most Muslim-majority countries.1 According to the Pew Research Center Report (2011, p. 13): Globally, the Muslim population is forecast to grow at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim population over the next two decades – an average annual growth rate of 1.5% for Muslims, compared with 0.7% for non-Muslims. If current trends continue, Muslims will make up 26.4% of the world’s total projected population of 8.3 billion in 2030, up from 23.4% of the estimated 2010 world population of 6.9 billion. But numbers are merely the tip of the iceberg; the question of poverty is far more central to our discussion. Many of the world’s poorest societies have Muslim-majority or substantial Muslim-minority populations. In 2008, Muslim-majority countries made up five of the top seven recipient countries of humanitarian aid: Sudan, Afghanistan, Palestine, Somalia, and Iraq, with another, Ethiopia, having a large Muslim minority (Global Humanitarian Assistance, 2011).

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