Kaja Borchgrevink's main research focus is on religion, civil society and development. She is currently engaged in doctoral research investigating the relationship between private Islamic charity and poverty reduction practices in the context of Pakistan and the Pakistani diaspora in Oslo, Norway.
She has previously completed a number of studies of religious education in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the transnational connections between religious seminaries (madrasas) in the two countries. Earlier research includes studies of the relationship between civil society and peace building in Afghanistan, under and after the Taliban and the role and significance of religious groups and networks in Afghanistan after 2001.
Kaja Borchgrevink has a background from Development Studies and practical development work in South Asia.
2006: Researcher, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)
2004 – 2005: Programme Grant Officer, Aga Khan Foundation – Afghanistan
2003 – 2004: Programme Officer, Small Grants Programme Unit, UNDP Pakistan
2001– 2003: Programme Officer, Sustainable Livelihoods Unit, UNDP Pakistan
2001: Intern, Orangi Pilot Project Research an Training Institute (OPP-RTI), Pakistan
2000: MSc Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK.
1999: Cand. mag. in Hindi-Urdu language studies, History of Religion, South Asia Studies and International Human Rights, University of Oslo.
Hindi and Urdu (conversational)
Now that Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, is ending, most Muslims – in Oslo, as elsewhere in the world – celebrate the festival of Eid. It is a time for celebration. For many Muslims, it is also a time to help those less well-off than themselves, either through the annual “religious tax” zakat or through other forms of charity. Muslims in Oslo are engaged in a range of charitable, humanitarian and development efforts. We have learned about these through our research over the past four years, exploring development involvement in Pakistan and beyond, among the Pakistani diaspora. However, charitable ...
In general, religious actors are not perceived as possible contributors to civil society. In Afghanistan, where religion permeates society and politics, and where religious leaders and networks bear considerable influence, this is particularly problematic. There is a need for a thorough rethink of what civil society is, and the role of religion within it. While knowledge is deficient in vital areas, what we do know merits a thorough reorientation of policy and practice. Religious actors are under double pressure. The Taliban, as the main armed opposition, see Islam as their main source of legitimacy. Religious leaders who express support for ...
While a small number of young Norwegian Muslims have travelled to Syria to join militant groups as “foreign fighters”, far greater numbers of young Muslims are supporting humanitarian efforts. Most media attention is focused on young people travelling abroad to fight, rather than on young people’s humanitarian work. Throughout the autumn, aid organizations and groups of individuals have been collecting winter clothing, footwear, sleeping bags and blankets. With winter closing in, the situation is precarious and there is great enthusiasm for collecting clothes and blankets to send to civilians both in Syria itself and in refugee camps in the region. ...
Fasting and celebration At this time Muslims all over the world are celebrating Eid – Islam’s most important religious festival. Eid marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. After the Eid prayer, families and friends gather to celebrate. This is a time for dressing in fine clothing, eating well, and giving gifts to children. In fact, it is not unlike Christmas. During Eid, it is customary for everyone who can afford it to donate a sum of money, zakat-al-fitr, so that the poor will also be able to eat their fill during the festival. These donations are often ...
Muslims pay 15 times more “religious tax” than the rest of the world gives in humanitarian aid. Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, has just started. A time of fasting for devout Muslims, this is also the time of year when most Muslims pay their annual zakat. Zakat is a form of compulsory almsgiving, a kind of “religious tax.” The amount due is 2.5 per cent of a Muslim’s wealth at the start of Ramadan, subject to a minimum threshold. The Koran contains clear rules about who is eligible to receive zakat: in general, these are people who ...