Muslim Civic Cultures and Conflict Resolution

Muslim Civic Cultures and Conflict Resolution: The Challenge of Democratic Federalism in Nigeria

John N. Paden
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 303
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    Muslim Civic Cultures and Conflict Resolution
    Book Description:

    The question of whether Islam is compatible with democracy may best be answered not from the classical sources or even from the cauldron of Middle East politics but from the lived experiences of Muslim communities around the world. In large and diverse countries, the varied political values of different cultures can make or break the democratic experiment. Regardless of their cultural context, transitions from military to civilian rule require attention to the grassroots civic cultures that form the foundations of democratic federalism. John Paden, a noted expert on West African and Islamic societies, uses Nigeria as a critical case study of how a diverse country with a significant Muslim population is working to make the transition to a democratic society. Although little-studied, the non-Arab Muslim communities of West Africa are an important indicator as to whether Islamic democracy in a diverse nation is possible. Nigeria's success is vital to regional and global stability. As the largest country in Africa, with a population that is about half Muslim and half Christian or traditional animist, Nigeria is also the seventh largest producer of oil in the world and has gone through a series of political traumas ranging from civil war to military rule. The current democratic government is trying to balance rule-of-law concerns at a time when many communal tensions are coming to the surface. Muslim Civic Cultures and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria takes us inside the complex world of Nigerian politics, with a focus on the ways Muslim civic cultures deal with matters of leadership and conflict resolution. The book provides an essential context to the current international concern with issues ranging from Shari'a law and communal violence, to the broader war on terrorism. It argues that the requirement for regional political cooperation serves as a counterbalance to more extreme forms of political expression. Paden shows that if the Nigerian political model of democratic federalism works, then there is a real world, peaceful alternative to the "clash of civilizations" predicted by the intellectual world and threatened by al Qaeda.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-9787-6
    Subjects: Religion, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    P. W. Singer

    Transitions from military to civilian rule are amongst the most trying—and often turbulent—stages of governance. In large and diverse countries, local values are key factors in the success or failure of such a process. The cultural contours of political values can make or break the democratic experiment. Thus, understanding grassroots civic cultures, and how they can serve as the foundations of democratic federalism, requires great attention and study.

    At the same time, the questions of whether and how Islam is compatible with democracy are not just an academic matter, but of crucial policy importance. However, while the focus...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    A crisis of confidence is emerging in relations between the Western and Muslim worlds, especially in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Heightening the tension is the war on terrorism, whether defined as preventing nonstate networks from attacking global infrastructure or warding off the challenge of so-called rogue states. To complicate matters, the Western and Muslim worlds themselves are divided on political and policy issues, while constituencies on all sides fail to recognize or understand the basic forces at play. Hence they tend to rely on symbols and slogans rather than informed thinking in addressing their differences. In democracies of...

  7. 1 Nigeria in the World
    (pp. 13-36)

    Ever since the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, public interest has focused on relations between the Muslim and Western worlds. Over this period, Nigeria’s dealings with the international community, and with the United States in particular, have emerged as key issues.¹ U.S. policy debates have identified several macro-level approaches that might affect relations with Nigeria, including the following measures:

    —insist that alliances in the war on terrorism are the litmus test of a coalition or positive bilateral relations or both,

    — insist that multilateral relations—in the sense of broad coalitions (rather than unilateral actions)—are the appropriate means of dealing...

  8. 2 The Emergence of Democratic Federalism in Nigeria
    (pp. 37-52)

    Nigeria’s political evolution from precolonial status to postindependence civilian regimes has been greatly influenced by a legacy of north-south regionalism and its geocultural zones (see table 2-1). The political structure that has emerged represents an attempt to accommodate diversity and facilitate conflict resolution.

    Between 1880 and 1905, most of Nigeria was conquered by the British, first in the south along the coast and later in the interior north, with headquarters in Lokoja. Between 1907 and 1914, the British set up native authorities throughout Northern Nigeria under a policy of indirect rule, utilizing preexisting political units for administrative purposes. Just as...

  9. 3 Variations in Muslim Identities and Values
    (pp. 55-69)

    As argued in the introduction, the relationship between religious identities and orientations toward authority, community, change (or transformation), law, justice, and conflict resolution helps shape the dynamics of a national civil society. Nationhood, in the sense of a defined independent political community, often derives coherence and momentum from the interaction and transformation of component identities and values.¹ Since independence (1960), Nigeria’s search for identity has experimented with subnational regionalism, partition (and consequent civil war), centralized federalism, military centralism, preparations for a three-tier civilian federalism (federal, state, local), and the actual transition to a Fourth Republic. These developments have occurred within...

  10. 4 Emirate Civic Cultures
    (pp. 70-98)

    The Sokoto Caliphate, established in 1804 in what is now northern Nigeria, was one of the largest political entities in precolonial Africa. By the mid-nineteenth century, approximately thirty emirates had emerged within the caliphate. The British policy of indirect rule during the colonial period (1900–60) kept most of these emirates in place in terms of authority patterns and legal systems. As noted earlier, fourteen of the current thirty-six states in Nigeria have had direct experience with the emirate system, and “royal fathers” (emirs, or their equivalents) are very much part of the political and religious mix in contemporary Nigeria.¹...

  11. 5 Nonstate Muslim Variations on Civic Culture
    (pp. 99-114)

    In contrast to the emirate legacy in northern Nigeria, with its pattern of primary state responsibilities in the domain of Muslim religious affairs, other Muslim areas in Nigeria have evolved in ways that reflect more individualized, or nonstate, patterns of Muslim identities and values. In southwest Nigeria, for example, Yoruba ethnic patterns of religious identity are mixed, and even within the same extended family, members may be Muslim, Christian, or traditionalist.¹ Families and localities alike display a high level of religious tolerance. Yoruba city-state identities are generally the predominant factor in political life.² This pattern of identity may be changing,...

  12. 6 National Muslim Identities and Values
    (pp. 115-136)

    Ethnic and religious-based political parties have been banned from recognition and participation in elections in Nigeria since before independence. Hence the various political parties and nongovernmental organizations tend to be associated with public perspectives, which range from conservative to progressive. This has been the case even in the predominantly Muslim areas during both civilian and military periods.

    In the transition to independence in 1960, a number of young men in northern Nigeria who had both an Islamic and Western education provided political leadership as well as guidance in interpreting Islamic principles in a modernist context. They were often from distinguished...

  13. 7 Challenges of the Fourth Republic (1999–2005)
    (pp. 139-156)

    Military rule in Nigeria came to an end on May 29, 1999, with the swearing in of President Olusegun Obasanjo and the establishment of a Fourth Republic.¹ Between 1999 and the undertaking of elections in April 2003 (and their aftermath through 2005), important issues and precedents were set regarding democratic federalism.²

    With the return to civilian rule in 1999, after fifteen years of centralized military rule and the trickle-down logic of an oil-driven economy, the basic challenge was how to decentralize the country without moving to partition or to those variations of confederation that might be a prelude to partition....

  14. 8 Challenges of the Shari’a Issue
    (pp. 157-170)

    With civilian rule emerging in the fall of 1998, following the death of General Sani Abacha in June, the issue of “law and order” became a prime concern in many local minds, especially in the north. In a larger sense, this had to do with the rule of law. As noted earlier, a gubernatorial candidate from Zamfara State (Ahmed Sani) capitalized on this sentiment, promising to set up a shari’a-based penal code extending to criminal matters. Sani’s success at the polls prompted other northern governors to introduce state legislation setting up broad and extensive shari’a codes, but with application to...

  15. 9 The Shari’a Issue and Sociopolitical Conflict
    (pp. 171-182)

    Kaduna is not the only site of shari’a-related violence. There have been vigilante incidents in Kano, and even Sokoto has witnessed turmoil. In addition, the extreme ethnoreligious violence in Plateau State (a non-shari’a state) may have been influenced by perceptions of shari’a-related issues in other northern states. However, by far the most serious sociopolitical conflict of the shari’a states has occurred in Kaduna.

    The violence in Kaduna City in February and May 2000—the so-called shari’a 1 and shari’a 2 riots—left at least 2,000 dead, and perhaps as many as 5,000.¹ In November 2002, another 250 people were killed,...

  16. 10 Religious Tolerance and Conflict Resolution
    (pp. 183-200)

    The central issue within the Muslim community of Nigeria for the past two hundred years has been what degree of tolerance is necessary to sustain unity with diversity, without letting syncretism or cultural mixtures run riot in the local traditionalist communities. There have been several categories of serious intra Muslim conflict during this time frame.

    A prime concern of the jihad of Usman dan Fodio was whether the establishment authorities—Muslim Hausa chiefs—were really “good Muslims” (as distinct from unjust rulers). By confronting those authorities with intellectual, political, and eventually military force, the jihad movement established that the legitimacy...

  17. 11 Civic Cultures and Conflict Resolution
    (pp. 203-209)

    The discussion of civic cultures or political values in this volume has highlighted orientations to community, authority, change, and conflict resolution, plus some orientations to time and the scope of the state. The question remains, does congruence or incongruence of civic values across culture zones within Nigeria promote or impede conflict and conflict resolution?

    On the issue of community boundaries, there is a clear difference between cultures for which ethnic affiliation is crucial (even to the point that one is born into an affiliation and cannot opt out) versus those for which community boundaries are flexible and may expand or...

  18. 12 Nigeria in International Perspective
    (pp. 210-226)

    In the evolving culture of conflict resolution in Nigeria, two countervailing tendencies are notable: the active engagement in mediation and arbitration and the legalistic take-it-or-leave-it approach. Both have strong antecedents in Nigerian Muslim civic culture.

    Within emirate culture, the ideal form of conflict resolution is consultation (shura) and patience (hakuri). When conflicts arise, every effort is made to prevent them from degenerating into violent events. “Socially binding” arbitration by elders is most common, but with appeals to higher authorities. The central purpose of the traditional leader was to act as a final arbiter in cases of serious conflict. Beyond that,...

  19. APPENDIX A: Selected Electoral Patterns: The First Three Republics
    (pp. 227-232)
  20. APPENDIX B: Selected Biographical Summaries
    (pp. 233-240)
  21. Notes
    (pp. 241-284)
  22. Index
    (pp. 285-304)
  23. Back Matter
    (pp. 305-306)