God will reward you: Muslim practices of caring for precarious migrants in the context of secular suspicion
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionContemporary Islam. 2021, 15, 153-168. 10.1007/s11562-021-00468-0
In recent years, Muslims have become more visibly invested in humanitarian work in France. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Marseille, this article examines local initiatives to care for precarious others whose lives are neither materially supported nor socially recognized within the current French political regime. Engaging with critical French scholarship on humanitarianism as care for others associated with emergency, suffering and the politics of compassion, I show how food-distribution (maraudes) by Muslim-run humanitarian associations also draw from Islamic ethics of care. While social dynamics related to gender, class, race and generation structure the maraudes, the foregrounding of shared precarity, and of religious duty and piety over pity, challenges the ‘hierarchies of deservingness’ established by humanitarian border regimes. In caring for precarious others, Muslims must navigate both the secular suspicion directed towards Islam and the securitization of migration. Carrying out the religious duty of helping those in need, they are ‘laying claim to public space’ for both Muslims and precarious migrants.