Special Series: Economics and Muslim-Western Relations - 2007
by Malika Anand and Samer Badawi
In this first article in a series on economic factors affecting Muslim-Western relations, Malika Anand and Samer Badawi, who work at CGAP, a global resource centre for microfinance, consider whether financial services have social implications for conflicting groups in war torn countries. They discuss the conditions in which microfinance has been proven to increase trust and communication in societies devastated by distrust and destruction, and to point the way back to a civil society.
(Source: Common Ground News Service (CGNews), 12 December 2006) 
by Robert Myers
This second article in a series on economics and Muslim-Western relations is written by Robert Myers, an economist with forty years of applied experience. He compares the public-sector-focused foreign aid that Western donors most frequently provide with a relatively new aid paradigm that focuses on growing the private sector. Looking at different experiences in the Middle East and Asia, he identifies which model has succeeded and which has failed.
(Source: Common Ground News Service (CGNews), 19 December 2006) 
by Azza Karam
In this third article in our series on economics and Muslim-Western relations, Azza Karam, a senior advisor to the United Nations Development Programme’s Regional Bureau of Arab States, challenges the post-9/11 misperceptions of Islamist organisations. Listing some of the lesser known facts about these non-government organisations, which exist on financial contributions from donor organisations and individuals, she describes some of the many roles they fulfil.
(Source: Common Ground News Service (CGNews), 9 January 2007) 
by Mehmood Kazmi
In this fourth article in our series on economics and Muslim-Western relations, Mehmood Kazmi, an international business and investment consultant, considers why many Muslim societies see the impact of globalisation as negative. He then asks what needs to change in order for everyone to reap the economic (and other) benefits of globalisation while mitigating the burden on local cultural sensitivities and taking into account real political inequity.
(Source: Common Ground News Service (CGNews), 16 January 2007) 
by Rodney Wilson
In the fifth and final article in our series on economics and Muslim-Western relations, Rodney Wilson, director of postgraduate studies at Durham University’s Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, considers the emergence of Islamic banking in the West. Looking at how it is being implemented as well as what this means for both Muslims and non-Muslims, he argues that banking should be about “extending choice, not restricting options”.
(Source: Common Ground News Service (CGNews), 23 January 2006) 
Women of Tunisia: Let your voices be heard!

The women of Tunisia have a decisive role to play in shaping Tunisia's future. Fatma Ben Saïdane reminds women of the power of their vote and the importance of civic engagement.
"I have received six questions from several individuals working for the Common Ground News Service. I hope that students and specialists in our university (Al Azhar), as well as those concerned with general intellectual matters, will take note of the effort behind these questions, how they came to be issued only after extensive information - gathering and study that could fill shelves, and after the kind of organized thought that draws connections between various facts and which does not busy itself with the illusions, trifles, and pettiness that upend the edifice of knowledge."

- Sheikh Ali Gomaa, Grand Mufti of Egypt

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