Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

Anthropology, MA

Committee Chair

Peteet, Julie

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Storey, Angela

Committee Member

Storey, Angela

Committee Member

Keeley, Theresa

Author's Keywords

refugees; Islam; aid; humanitarianism; Louisville


This thesis examines Islamic faith-based organizations’ involvement in Syrian refugee resettlement in Louisville, KY with special attention to the impact of an Islamic Relief USA community engagement grant awarded to Kentucky Refugee Ministries in 2014. A description of local Muslim community support for newly arrived refugees was constructed via participant observation and semi-structured interviews with former and current resettlement agency employees, a diverse set of Muslim community volunteers, and refugees who participate in and/or are supported by Islamic faith-based organizations. Muslim communities in Louisville approach refugee resettlement in ways that are significantly different from both resettlement agency staff and past co-sponsors and volunteers. Muslim faith-based assistance is constituted through a myth of Muslim community history, a trust in highly personal and flexible methods of assistance, and a series of obligations based on community belongings. Resettlement agencies should recognize these particularities in future program development and community outreach efforts.