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The Islamic Movement in Southern Africa: A History

1. Introduction

The recently awakened interest of the whole world to Islam outside the Arabic world offers a non-trivial study of the presence of one of three main religions in southern Africa. Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland – four countries with a total population of about 13 million people – are home to small Muslim communities that account for about 1% of the total population. Nevertheless, the position of Islam in these countries is not as insignificant as it might seem at first glance.

The modern Islamic movement in Africa is closely linked to the processes of decolonization and independence. In turn, the place and role of Islam in southern Africa were determined by the colonial past, when Muslims were brought to these territories as slaves from East Africa and India. After the abolition of slavery, Muslim communities remained in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland, but their numbers decreased due to assimilation and conversion to Christianity. In the second half of the twentieth century, the number of Muslims in southern Africa began to grow again due to immigration from other parts of Africa and Asia, as well as due to conversions.

Nowadays Muslims in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland are represented by two main groups: immigrants from other parts of Africa and Asia, and native Africans who have converted to Islam. The vast majority of Muslims in these countries (about 80%) are concentrated in urban areas.

2. The modern Islamic movement in Africa

– 2.1 Islam in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland

Islam arrived in southern Africa with Muslim traders from East Africa and India who settled on the coast of Mozambique in the late eighteenth century. A significant number of Muslims also came to southern Africa as slaves from East Africa. Most of them were brought to Cape Colony (present-day South Africa), but some also ended up in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland. After the abolition of slavery in 1834, Muslim communities remained in these countries, but their numbers decreased due to assimilation and conversion to Christianity.

In the second half of the twentieth century, the number of Muslims in southern Africa began to grow again due to immigration from other parts of Africa and Asia, as well as due to conversions. Nowadays Muslims in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland are represented by two main groups: immigrants from other parts of Africa and Asia, and native Africans who have converted to Islam. The vast majority of Muslims in these countries (about 80%) are concentrated in urban areas.

The largest Muslim community in southern Africa is found in South Africa, where they make up about 2% of the total population. There are also significant Muslim communities in Zimbabwe (about 1%), Mauritius (about 1%) and Kenya (about 6%). In Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland, Muslims make up about 1% of the total population.

The largest Muslim community in Botswana is concentrated in the capital city Gaborone (about 7%). There are also small Muslim communities in Francistown (about 2%) and Maun (about 1%). In Namibia, Muslims make up about 1% of the total population and are concentrated mainly in the capital city Windhoek (about 2%). There are also small Muslim communities in Oshakati (about 1%), Swakopmund (about 1%) and Walvis Bay (about 1%). In Lesotho, Muslims make up less than 1% of the total population and are concentrated in the capital city Maseru (about 1%). In Swaziland, the Muslim community is very small and is concentrated in the capital city Mbabane (less than 1%).

The vast majority of Muslims in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland are Sunni. There are also small Shia and Ahmadi communities in these countries.

– 2.2 The modern Islamic movement in Namibia and Swaziland

The Islamic movement in Namibia and Swaziland is closely linked to the processes of decolonization and independence. In the 1960s and 1970s, a significant number of Muslims from other parts of Africa came to Namibia and Swaziland to study at local universities or to work in the mines. This new wave of Muslim immigrants brought with them a new understanding of Islam, which was influenced by the ideas of the Islamic revival that was taking place in other parts of Africa at that time. This revival was mostly led by African Muslims who were critical of the way that Islam had been practiced by Muslims in southern Africa up until that point. They argued that Muslims in southern Africa had become too assimilated into Western culture and had lost touch with their roots.

As a result of this Islamic revival, a number of new mosques and Islamic organizations were established in Namibia and Swaziland. The most important Islamic organizations in these countries are the Muslim Association of South Africa (MASA), the Islamic Council of Southern Africa (ICSA) and the World Islamic Call Society (WICS). These organizations have played a significant role in the development of the Islamic movement in Namibia and Swaziland.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the Islamic movement in Namibia and Swaziland began to take a more political turn. A number of Islamic political parties were established, such as the Islamic Unity Convention (IUC) in Namibia and the Muslim Congress (MC) in Swaziland. These parties have not been very successful in electoral politics, but they have played an important role in raising Muslim awareness of political issues.

The Islamic movement in Namibia and Swaziland has also been influenced by the global Islamic revival that began in the 1970s. This revival was led by thinkers such as Sayyid Qutb and Hassan al-Banna, who advocated a return to traditional Islamic values. As a result of this revival, a number of new Islamic organizations were established in Namibia and Swaziland, such as the Islamic Salvation Front (ISF) and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). These organizations have played a significant role in the development of the Islamic movement in these countries.

3. Conclusion

The Islamic movement in Namibia and Swaziland is closely linked to the processes of decolonization and independence. In the 1960s and 1970s, a significant number of Muslims from other parts of Africa came to Namibia and Swaziland to study at local universities or to work in the mines. This new wave of Muslim immigrants brought with them a new understanding of Islam, which was influenced by the ideas of the Islamic revival that was taking place in other parts of Africa at that time. This revival was mostly led by African Muslims who were critical of the way that Islam had been practiced by Muslims in southern Africa up until that point. They argued that Muslims in southern Africa had become too assimilated into Western culture and had lost touch with their roots.

As a result of this Islamic revival, a number of new mosques and Islamic organizations were established in Namibia and Swaziland. The most important Islamic organizations in these countries are the Muslim Association of South Africa (MASA), the Islamic Council of Southern Africa (ICSA) and the World Islamic Call Society (WICS). These organizations have played a significant role in the development of the Islamic movement in Namibia and Swaziland.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the Islamic movement in Namibia and Swaziland began to take a more political turn. A number of Islamic political parties were established, such as the Islamic Unity Convention (IUC) in Namibia and the Muslim Congress (MC) in Swaziland. These parties have not been very successful in electoral politics, but they have played an important role in raising Muslim awareness of political issues.

The Islamic movement in Namibia and Swaziland has also been influenced by the global Islamic revival that began in the 1970s. This revival was led by thinkers such as Sayyid Qutb and Hassan al-Banna, who advocated a return to traditional Islamic values. As a result of this revival, a number of new Islamic organizations were established in Namibia and Swaziland, such as the Islamic Salvation Front (ISF) and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). These organizations have played a significant role in the development of the Islamic movement in these countries.

FAQ

The different Islamic movements in different regions can broadly be classified into two categories: those that are focused on political change and those that are focused on religious revival.

The goals of these movements vary depending on the specific group, but they often include establishing an Islamic state, increasing adherence to Islamic law, and promoting Islamic values.

The history of Islam in each region is complex and has been shaped by a variety of factors, including the arrival of Muslim armies during the early centuries of the faith, subsequent colonization by European powers, and local resistance to both forces.

The local cultures affect Islamic movements in each region in a number of ways; for example, they may provide support for or opposition to specific groups, help to shape the goals and tactics of particular movements, or act as a source of recruits.

There are some similarities between the various Islamic movements around the world, such as their general focus on reestablishing an authentic form of Islam and their use of violence to achieve their goals. However, there are also significant differences between them, such as their geographic location and historical context.

International politics and events can have a major impact on regional Islamic movements; for instance, the September 11th attacks led to increased support for militant groups in many parts of the Muslim world

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