Innovative Social Work Practices by Islamic Grassroots Organizations in Switzerland


  • Baptiste Brodard University of Fribourg



Charity, Grassroots Organizations, Islam, Muslims, Radicalization, Religion, Social Work, Welfare


In Switzerland, specific issues related to Muslims have recently emerged in public debates. In addition to the question of radicalization, Muslim migrant populations are affected by social problems such as crime, marginalization, and overrepresentation in prisons. This situation has drawn the state’s attention to the need for implementing new responses to the challenges of religious extremism and social exclusion, particularly involving Muslims. While local authorities have organized trainings and projects to tackle these issues, Islamic grassroots associations have developed some initiatives to address the needs of the population, not only focusing on problems related to Islam and Muslims but also on Swiss society as a whole. Based on a case study of Islamic organizations providing social welfare services, this paper questions the inclusion of such faith-based projects within mainstream society and the area of social work, considering particularly the relation between Islamic organizations and the state.

Author Biography

Baptiste Brodard, University of Fribourg

Baptiste Brodard, born in 1986, from Switzerland, is a PhD researcher in social sciences and Islamic theology at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland). He received a Bachelor’s degree in political science at the University Paris VIII (France) in 2008 and a Master’s degree in social sciences, social work and social policies at the University of Fribourg in 2011. His Master’s thesis on Islamic social work in Paris was based on an ethnography within various grassroots organizations providing social services in distressed neighbourhoods. Having worked for several years as a social worker, counsellor and project manager in Switzerland and Algeria, he began his PhD thesis on Islamic grassroots organizations tackling social exclusion and identity-based conflicts in Switzerland through a case study method and qualitative ethnographic research.




How to Cite

Brodard, Baptiste. 2019. “Innovative Social Work Practices by Islamic Grassroots Organizations in Switzerland”. Politikon: The IAPSS Journal of Political Science 42 (September). Online:40-60.



Research articles