What good practices should a Christian organization working in a Muslim context follow – how should they approach the beneficiaries in the first place and ensure humanitarian accountability?
Programme Officer at World Vision International (Afghanistan)
Answer posted: 8 August 2015
The first thing is to be open and transparent. There is often a natural suspicion that western Christian organisations are coming to convert people. You need to allay people’s fears and start to build trust that you are coming to help them. Even if one is spiritual and practicing, this needs to be made transparent. More often than not, people respect the fact that one has a faith and is practicing.
Secondly, I would suggest that coming from the Christian faith, keep in mind that this is the closest faith in terms of commonalities and similarities of history, thought, and even practice to the Muslim one. You need to know, identify, and celebrate these commonalities. For example, there is a recognition and respect placed by Muslims on Jesus Christ and his miraculous birth. The only difference is how he is revered. Throughout history there have been examples of good cooperation between the communities. Thus a better religious literacy of the faiths and their history is needed. A good resource on this that could be used is the "Covenants of the Prophet."
About the author
Amjad Mohamed-Saleem is a free-lance consultant from Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom and was born in Nigeria. In this capacity he has advised the Commonwealth Foundation, International Alert, among others. In this capacity, he also worked as the Head of Communications and manager of Conflicts Programme for the Cordoba Foundation. He has been country director of the NGO Muslim Aid in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. He has also worked in Myanmar, looking at the role the private sector could have in reaching people that humanitarian organizations have trouble reaching themselves, and on issues of peacebuilding and the role of faith in conflict reconciliation in Asia.