企画書・概要 (Abstract of Project Proposal)
Japan has a significant national interest in the Middle East from both economic and security viewpoints, because this region covers oil and natural gas exporting countries and is a great potential market for the Japanese products. In addition to these economic and political interests, the cultural curiosity toward the Middle East and the religious and psychological attachment among Japanese Muslims and Christians to the region is quite strong. As a result, there have been great efforts in Japan for deepening the mutual understanding and strengthening relations with the Middle Eastern countries at intergovernmental and grass-root levels.
On the other side of the map, the Islamic movements are growing, spreading and penetrating into the societies in the Middle East. In Arab countries, Islamic movements started to participate legally and more actively in a political sphere, especially since the beginning of the "Arab Spring" in the end of 2011. In Turkey, a political party linked with Islamism has been a leading national party since 1995. The various Islamic movements are also gaining a popular support and becoming strong and influential actors in Palestine, the region which has been a focal point in the relations between Israel and Arab countries as well as between the Western countries and the Middle Eastern countries for long time. Among them, Hamas, the local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood is now the biggest and strongest Islamic party in Palestine. It defeated a secular nationalist party, Fatah, in the 2006 election of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and governs the Gaza Strip de-facto. The grass-root support to Hamas is also persistent and strong in the West Bank.
Facing this situation in the Middle East, the Japanese government and civil society may now need to seek more dialogues, mutual understandings and cooperation with the Islamic movements. However, the Japanese non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which represent the civil society, are not playing important and valuable roles in this respect and have implemented few joint projects with the Islamic NGOs including community-based organizations (CBOs). Even the field surveys have not been done enough, to evaluate possibilities and methods available for the cooperation between the Japanese NGOs and the Islamic NGOs and CBOs. In this light, this research will focus on activities, values and motivations of the Islamic NGOs in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, evaluating needs of those organizations and their beneficiaries. Then, it will examine possibilities and methods available for the cooperation between the Japanese NGOs and the Islamic NGOs.