Modern Islam in Africa

Posted: September 3rd, 2013

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Modern Islam in Africa

Islam in Sudan

Muslims in Sudan are strict followers of Sunni branch of the Islam religion which is sometimes referred to as orthodox. The other Islam Branch is referred to as Shia but Sudanese Muslims do not practice it (Dangor, 13). The main current affair surrounding the Islam society in Sudan revolves around the continuous conflict with Christians in the society. The war and conflict between these two religions has been there for decades and is still present today. There have been issues suggesting that the Sudanese government does not offer significant recognition for Christian religious freedoms as well as Muslims who have dissented from the Religion. Sometimes wars between the two religions ensue and usually lead to massive fatalities, mostly Christians. (Dangor, 21).

Among the current day affairs surrounding the Islamic religion in Sudan lies behind female circumcision. This practice is still carried in Sudan despite the current awareness proposals of abolishing it. This issue is considered controversial and has received massive criticism because of the psychological and physical issues it has on Sudanese women. This practice leads to victimized women developing obstetrical complications in the course of childbirth and the rest of their life. In addition, the Muslim society of Sudan still embraces subordination and segregation of women in the society. Nevertheless, current society in Sudan is witnessing Muslim women gradually progress through education.

My opinion on the Sudanese Islamic religion views it as a bit different from other Muslim religions. It is my understanding that Muslim teachings encourage harmonious interrelations with other societies. The Muslim Society in Sudan is quite contrary to that teaching. Inn addition, thoughts on their practices conclude that the Muslim society is still has old roots. This is supported by the fact that they still practice female circumcision despite its complications and the current awareness.

Islam in South Africa

The Muslim community in South Africa is not very wide spread and constitutes a significant portion of the religions present in the country. Nevertheless, the Muslims in this region exhibit a harmonious relationship with individuals from other religious communities (Fathelrahman, 16). The main current affair among Muslims in South Africa is bearing with religious cohesion as they have to co relate with the colored and Indian individuals they have to work with, live amongst, attend school and other social places with Sikh, Christian, atheist as well as Buddhist beliefs. Muslims in this country therefore have to deal with scourges of alcoholism, drugs use, and gangster groups (Fathelrahman, 27).

Other current affairs present in the Muslim society in South Africa involve conflicts between those who adhere to Sufi Islamic forms (African Islam) and individuals who believe in more universal Muslim forms. These conflicts are in a tussle between choices as to whether or not to purify pre Islamic beliefs and practices carried out in South Africa. In addition, the Current Muslim society has seen attempts of reviving Sufism that had undergone decline in South Africa. Another current affair surrounding the Islamic religion has witnessed many Africans converting to the religion. This can be attributed to the teachings against alcoholism, sex, and domestic violence. These vices are predominant in South Africa and many individuals attempt to seek refuge from these by converting to Muslim.

In my opinion, the Islamist society is one that has a deep consideration towards the teachings of its religion. Nevertheless, it is a society that has considered reform in its practices and beliefs. My thoughts on this are that they are attempting to adjust to the cultural practices of South Africa as a means of avoiding conflict with the natives.

Islam in Kenya  

Of the 4.3 million people living in Kenya, Muslims constitute about eleven percent of the population. The most dominant religion in Kenya is Christianity with Muslims, Hindu and other religions forming the smaller portion (Seesemann, 27). Majority of these Muslims are based in Kenyan coast with the minority few in the other parts of the country. The Sunni branch of the Islamic religion highly dominates in the Kenyan Muslim society with the remaining few practicing adhering to the Shia branch. Islamic influence in the Kenyan interior is quite minimal. The interrelation between the Muslim and the local communities is quite rare although some natives in the country have converted to the religion. These interrelations brought about the Kiswahili language which is considered the other national language in the country other than English (Seesemann, 45).

Currently, the nation of Kenya is conducting warfare with the Al Shabab militant group that is based in Somali. It has been evidenced that some of the militant group’s leaders were Muslim clerics and sheikhs who served and taught in Kenya. Although the Muslim community has openly shunned these leaders and the militant group, there are still some followers who are either sympathizers or supporters of the outlawed group’s ideologies and principles. Following attacks on some churches in Kenya by the militant group, the Muslim community is currently under task of convincing the general public that they have no involvement with the group and at the same time, convince the sympathizers and other supporters to completely shun the militant group and support the Kenyan government in weeding out the terrorists.

In my opinion, the Muslim society in Kenya is somehow in a quagmire since it is at the brink of war from within and without. Although the terrorist group claims to follow Islamic laws including the infamous Sharia law, the Muslim community must come out strongly and enlighten the general public on the religion’s stand with regards to acts of terrorism.

 

 

Works Cited

Booth, Newell S. “Islam in Africa.” African Religions: a Symposium. 2007: 297-344. Print.

Dangor, Suleman. “The Establishment and Consolidation of Islam in South Africa: From the Dutch Colonisation of the Cape to the Present.” Historia : Amptelike Orgaan. 48.1 2003: 203-220. Print.

Fathelrahman, Bella H. “Shari’a in Sudan.” Radical Islam’s Rules : the Worldwide Spread of Extreme Shari’a Law. 2005: 87-112. Print.

Seesemann, Rüdiger. “African Islam or Islam in Africa?: Evidence from Kenya.” Global Worlds of the Swahili: Interfaces of Islam, Identity and Space in 19th and 20th-Century East Africa. 2006: 229-250. Print.

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