The majority of those receiving humanitarian assistance worldwide are Muslim. This simple fact has remained insufficiently examined, although its significance is evident and growing. The paper explores the issue through five lines of inquiry. Who are the Muslim clients of the humanitarian enterprise and what do they want? Are the hungry poor dangerous? Can humanitarian assistance be an effective instrument of policy? How important is it as a resource transfer? How well has the humanitarian enterprise interpreted the threat from Muslim extremists? The paper underlines four characteristics of humanitarian assistance that are often overlooked: that its clients are preponderantly Muslim; its resources mainly food; that its implementation takes place in a resistant medium, and that the international humanitarian enterprise is overwhelmingly Western in style.
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