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Sects & Social Disorder

Sects & Social Disorder: Muslim Identities & Conflict in northern Nigeria

Edited by Abdul Raufu Mustapha
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Sects & Social Disorder
    Book Description:

    Nigerian society has long been perceived as divided along religious lines, between Muslims and Christians, but alongside this there is an equally important polarization within the Muslim population in beliefs, rituals and sectarian allegiance. This important book highlights the important issue of intra-Muslim pluralism and conflict in Nigeria. Conflicting interpretations of texts and contexts have led to fragmentation within northern Nigerian Islam, and different Islamic sects have often resorted to violence against each other in pursuit of 'the right path'. The doctrinal justification of violence was first perfected against other Muslim groups, before being extended to non-Muslims: conflict between Muslim groups therefore preceded the violence between Muslims and Christians. It will be impossible to manage the relationship between the latter, without addressing the schisms within the Muslim community itself. Abdul Raufu Mustapha is Associate Professor in African Politics, University of Oxford. His publications include (co-edited with Lindsey Whitfield) Turning Points in African Democracy (James Currey, 2009).

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-473-4
    Subjects: Religion, Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Maps, Figures & Tables
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. x-xii)
  5. Foreword
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    Muhammad Sani Umar

    I am pleased to introduce this volume of richly documented and insightfully amazing case-studies of Islamic movements and their historical background, social origins, religious beliefs and practices, and their emergence in the economic and political context of Nigeria. The valuable contributions of the individual chapters and the volume as a whole are better appreciated in light of the older literature on Islamic movements in Nigeria, and the more recent literature on violent conflicts, security studies and inter-group relations among Nigeria’s ethno-religious communities, especially in the context of what one of the authors in this volume terms ‘fractious politics’, since Nigeria’s...

  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
    Abdul Raufu Mustapha
  7. Glossary
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  8. 1 Introduction: Interpreting Islam: Sufis, Salafists, Shi’ites & Islamists in northern Nigeria
    (pp. 1-17)

    Since the 1980s, but especially since 1999, northern Nigeria has been racked by repeated episodes of religious and ethno-religious violence involving the loss of thousands of lives, the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people and the destruction of vast quantities of property. This orgy of violence has become worse since 2009 with the transformation of the SalafistYusufiyyasect into the jihadistJama‘atu Ahlul Sunnah li Da‘awati wal Jihad(People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad) orBoko Haram. Religion simultaneously constrains and enables action by its adherents, but does so in a way heavy...

  9. 2 From dissent to dissidence: The genesis & development of reformist Islamic groups in northern Nigeria
    (pp. 18-53)

    In this chapter I wish to show that the Muslimummain northern Nigeria has never been without religious dissidence. There is aprocessto the development of separatist Muslim communities which needs to be studied if Government is to formulate both successful policies of containment and aprogrammethat leads the Government to self-reform: for these ‘extreme’ movements of protest (evenBoko Haram) may articulate real concerns, even ideals, at the grass-roots level that it is unwise to ignore. This was true in the past; it is still true today – hence I will briefly re-analyse as an early...

  10. 3 Contemporary Islamic sects & groups in northern Nigeria
    (pp. 54-97)

    A major bone of contention in the politics of religion in Nigeria is the relative sizes of her Muslim and Christian populations.¹ What is not in doubt, however, is that in the 19 states that make up the three northern geo-political zones of the country, Muslims are a majority, along with a significant Christian minority and a generous sprinkling of followers of African Traditional Religions. However, as Map 3.1 shows, there are significant variations in the distribution of Muslims between these states. The states in the north-west zone have the highest percentage of Muslims in their total population, followed by...

  11. 4 Experiencing inequality at close range: Almajiri students & Qur’anic schools in Kano
    (pp. 98-125)

    Thealmajirai, boys and young men enrolled in ‘traditional’ Qur’anic schools rather than formal (Western-style) education, have become an issue of growing concern in northern Nigeria. The students of such schools have attracted attention in the context of increased attempts to achieve universal primary education and growing concerns about child welfare. In the context of growing violent conflict, they have also been associated with Islamic radicalization and militancy. The current spate ofBoko Haramviolence in northern Nigeria has carried such modes of thinking to the extremes. Thealmajirieducation system is described as ‘Nigeria’s ticking time bomb’ (Kulutempa 2011)...

  12. 5 ‘Marginal Muslims’: Ethnic identity & the Umma in Kano
    (pp. 126-146)

    Contemporary studies of ethno-religious conflicts in Africa have been particularly interested in protracted social conflicts. Such conflicts have been defined as hostile and violent interactions between identity groups over a long time, based on deep-seated ethnic, racial and religious hatred, structural cleavages between the conflicting groups, and the political oppression of some groups along with the denial of their fundamental needs (Fisher 1993). The focus on identity groups has come to shape the discourse of faith in Africa as a competition between the two big monotheistic religions – Islam and Christianity. The 2010 Pew study on the growth of both...

  13. 6 Understanding Boko Haram
    (pp. 147-198)

    By 2003, the cycle of violence that we now identify withBoko Haramhad started in the north-east. Between that year and 2014, the group metamorphosed from a group of angry Islamist young men wielding sticks on the streets of Maiduguri to an entrenched insurgency capable of deploying Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and Somalia-type mounted machine guns or ‘technicals’, and engaged in ruthless bombing campaigns across numerous Nigerian cities. It is a testament to the poor management of the situation by political and military authorities at all levels of the Nigerian federation that this transformation from a rag-tag mob in...

  14. 7 Conclusion: Religious sectarianism, poor governance & conflict
    (pp. 199-222)

    In this concluding chapter, I seek first to draw attention to the violent conflicts that have often characterized doctrinal disputes between Islamic groups in northern Nigeria over the past decades. This historical context sheds further light on the phenomenon ofBoko Haram. Second, I argue that this long-run process of religious sectarianism has been made worse by poor governance processes.

    Sufism has been central to Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa since the fifteenth century (Kane 2003, 59). Over the centuries, many reform movements emerged within this Islamic milieu to reinterpret the earlier messages. Such reformist impulses were important reflectors or initiators...

  15. Index
    (pp. 223-234)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 235-235)