Trends in Islamic Propagation (Da‘wah) in Parts of Eastern Nigeria
Islam in Nigeria received a boost during the colonial era to extend its propagation mission into eastern Nigeria (or Eastern Region). This is home to the Igbo, Ijaw, Ibibio, Efik, Annang, Ejegham (Ekoi) and few smaller ethnic groups, which today occupy Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers States. While the predominance of Christianity in eastern Nigeria is not in doubt, the growing influence of Islam in the area is a subject of debate amongst scholars. This paper, based on qualitative research conducted in Abia, Imo, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States, four of the nine states of this region, examines the trends and impacts of Islamic propagation in the area. It also considers the challenges of implanting Islam in a Christian-dominated environment.
keywords: eastern nigeria, christianity, islamic propagation (da‘wah).
A “Golden Age” Revisited: Conflict and Inter-religious Relations in Egypt’s Inter-war Years (1919-1939)
The article discusses the development of inter-communal relations between Christians and Muslims in Egypt during the inter-war years (1919-1939), challenging the notion that this period was a “golden age” of religious tolerance. By focusing on well-known incidents involving foreign missionaries and the backlash that followed, the paper shows how all Christian communities – including the local Coptic Orthodox Church – were directly affected by this climate of inter-communal strife. It then expands on the relation between Christian communities and party politics during this so-called “liberal era”, arguing that the nationalistic zeal of the anti-colonial movement, and the hegemonic yet ambiguous role of the Wafd in Egypt’s political landscape, led to the grievances of non-Muslim minorities still being voiced repeatedly even by senior members of the communities, but also being handled informally and confidentially rather than in the public. The paper concludes by presenting some significant instances of institutionalized coordination, involving all the major foreign and local Christian denominations, that emerged towards the end of this period.
keywords: egypt; liberal age; copts; missionary incidents
Breaking the Authoritarian Deadlock: Tunisian Communist Party’s Role in Labour Activism
The article investigates the propulsive role of Tunisian Communists within the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) after independence. Confronted with authoritarianism, the Tunisian Communist Party looked at trade unions as a viable arena to pursue political objectives, thus conforming to the line of the international movement of Communist and workers’ parties. Archive materials, newspaper articles and oral sources shed lights on the commitment of the Communist minority that joined in force the UGTT since the mid-1960s. Initially tense, the relationships improved in conjunction with the general strike of 26 January 1978 which represented the high point of workers’ protest and, in Communist eyes, class struggle. If traces of Communist impact on the UGTT may be found, the internal pluralism of Tunisian labour movement is still to be recognised.
keywords: tunisian general labour union; tunisian communist party; workers’ protests; black thursday; union autonomy
Refugees and Centralized State-building in Uganda
Sara de Simone
Uganda is the third country in the world for absolute numbers of refugees hosted. Why is this the case? Is it just a geographical accident, or does it gain benefits from its open policy? This article contributes to the literature addressing these questions by shedding light on how a refugee emergency can be used for state-building purposes. Thanks to its history as a donor darling, Uganda was able to position itself as a model for refugee-hosting, receiving significant amounts of international aid to sustain the country’s extraversion strategies. Even though the state-building project nurtured by these resources is not a liberal one, being marred by corruption and scandal, it cannot be dismissed as individual rent-seeking. The paper shows that this project aims to recentralization and the strengthening of the incumbent regime through the strengthening of the central state structure in the refugee-hosting peripheries to the detriment of local governments.
keywords: refugees, state-building, extraversion, international aid, uganda.
“A Bushman Cannot Rule”: Power, Movement, and Freedom in the Family of Moletsane. Central Southern Africa, 1849 and 1967
The contribution of African intellectuals, and specifically of African historians, to the production of knowledge about southern African past has only recently started to be recognised. The article proposes the analysis of a little-known autobiography authored in 1967 by Abraham Aaron Moletsane, a subject of colonial British Basutoland/independent Lesotho and a descendant of a nineteenth-century ruler of central southern Africa, Abraham Makgothi Moletsane of the Bataung. In particular, the present work focuses on how the author used the Sesotho concept of “Bushman”, Moroa, and argues that, separate from the influential colonial stereotype, different meanings of the term can be traced to the political debates on power and movement taking place in the nineteenth-century highveld. Reading the autobiography in combination with a series of more conventional archival documents, the article also illustrates the benefits that contemporary scholarship can obtain from a serious engagement with these historical materials, and calls for new researches on Abraham Aaron Moletsane and his intellectual milieu.
keywords: lesotho; south africa; african intellectuals; movement; power