1st Edition

Between Humanitarianism and Evangelism in Faith-based Organisations A Case from the African Migration Route

By May Ngo Copyright 2018
    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    172 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Religion has always played an important, if often contested, role in the public domain. This book focuses on how faith-based organisations (FBOs) interact with the public sphere, showing how faith-based actors are themselves shaped by wider processes and global forces such as globalisation, migration, foreign policy and neoliberal markets.

    Focusing on a case study of an FBO in Morocco which gives aid to sub-Saharan African irregular migrants, the book reveals some of the challenges the organisation faces as it tries to negotiate at once local, national and international contexts through their particular Christian values. This book contends that the contradictions, tensions and ambiguities that arise are primarily a result of the organisation having to negotiate a normative global secular liberalism which requires a strict demarcation between religion and politics, and religion and the secular. Faith-based actors, particularly within humanitarianism, have to constantly navigate this divide and in examining the question of how religious values translate into humanitarian and development practices, categories such as religion, the secular and politics and the boundaries between them will need to be interrogated.

    This book explores the diversity and complexity of the work of FBOs and will be of great interest to students and researchers working at the intersections of humanitarianism and development studies, politics and religion.


    List of Acronyms

    1. Chapter 1 Introduction 

    1. Chapter 2 Reflections on an ethnography: faith and migration

    2. Chapter 3Transnational faith communities: improvisation and invention 

    3. Chapter 4 External relations: "If God is for us, who can attack us?" 

    4. Chapter 5 Organisational mission and identity: "They are one"

    5. Chapter 6 Internal dynamics: staff precariousness and staff misconduct

    6. Chapter 7 Conclusion 



    May Ngo is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.

    "This rich ethnography of a Christian faith-based organisation working with irregular migrants in Morocco provides new insights into the ways in which such organisations both move through and simultaneously shape transnational, religious, and humanitarian spaces. May Ngo’s work insightfully highlights the importance of local faith communities in contemporary humanitarian and development contexts, while also contributing to broader conversations on contemporary reconfigurations of both ‘religion’ and ‘humanitarianism’ through their contextualised interactions." R. Michael Feener, Sultan of Oman Fellow, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, University of Oxford, UK

    "This is a wonderfully detailed and nuanced book which, in the best tradition of ethnography, casts new light on the world of faith-based organisations. Focusing on a specific Protestant organisation and the work it carries out among irregular migrants in Morocco, May Ngo examines the ways in which precariousness and aporia are inscribed into the lives of humanitarians and migrants alike. This is a deeply compassionate and insightful account into some of the biggest ethical challenges facing the world today." -- Philip Fountain, Senior Lecturer, School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand