Islam and Development in Bangladesh: A Grassroots Perspective

Author: Nathaniel Adams

October 24, 2016

In Bangladesh, local Muslim faith-inspired organizations have taken on new significance as the country grapples with growing social fissures around religion. These groups occupy a critical position in relation to the secular and religious divide, with a foot in both the worlds of religion and development. However, they are under-engaged by the mainstream development community. Apart from the larger secularized Muslim FIOs, little is known about the activities and ideological outlook of these groups, particularly those operating solely at the grassroots level. Local Muslim groups in Bangladesh are often assumed to be antagonistic or oppositional toward mainstream development efforts, and as a result, development actors have rarely approached them as potential local partners. This study aims not only to describe the activities, approach, and goals of the work of grassroots Muslim organizations, but also to provide conceptual tools to help development practitioners better understand grassroots Islamic development efforts in Bangladesh.

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