You cannot turn a blind eye to a giant: The relevance of religion to social protection and social welfare in the Middle East
Religion is a real social and political force in the MENA region and is the source of inspiration for much social welfare activity there. Religious organisations at grass-roots level organise spontaneously and are able to deal with a diverse array of social needs and social problems. They are key to understanding mechanisms of social protection and social integration in the MENA region, and without engagement with them, social policies will not go far in the region. Religious groups of the various denominations all around the world have played a key role in social welfare provision from time immemorial and their contribution to civic life is well recognised. Giving religious groups in the MENA region the chance to share their experience of social welfare provision and speak on behalf of the communities they engage with would be a helpful way forward for developing social policies there.