Islamism and It's Enemies in the Horn of Africa

Overview

Militant Islam is a powerful force in the Horn of Africa, and the U.S. war on terrorism has thrown the region and its politics into the international spotlight. Since the 1990s, when a failed U.S. military mission was called in to maintain order, Islamist organizations, with heavy sponsorship from Saudi Arabia, have multiplied and established much-needed health and education services in the region. However, despite the good that they are clearly providing, these organizations are labeled "terrorist" by the U.S. ...

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Overview

Militant Islam is a powerful force in the Horn of Africa, and the U.S. war on terrorism has thrown the region and its politics into the international spotlight. Since the 1990s, when a failed U.S. military mission was called in to maintain order, Islamist organizations, with heavy sponsorship from Saudi Arabia, have multiplied and established much-needed health and education services in the region. However, despite the good that they are clearly providing, these organizations are labeled "terrorist" by the U.S. Islamist extremists have been found to be responsible for the deadly embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the attack on an Israeli jet in Mombasa. Since September 11, 2001, global effort has been concentrated on bringing these groups to their knees. Focusing on how Islamist movements have been viewed post-9/11 and how the U.S. agenda is being translated into local struggles in the region, this book is an important step toward understanding the complex dynamics that enfold the region.

Contributors are Roland Marchal, A. H. Abdel Salam, M. A. Mohamed Salih, and Alex de Waal.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"De Waal, a well-known activist and scholar of human rights in Africa, has put together a detailed, provocative book on the 1989, 2003 period, when Sudan and Somalia served as a laboratory for political Islam.... Recommended. General readers and undergraduate collections." —Choice, June 2005

BBC World Service
"... a scholarly and critical analysis of Islamism in Sudan and the Horn of Africa, linking it with its roots in Egypt and unravelling its ideological, sociological and political facets." —Patrick Gilkes, BBC World Service

— Patrick Gilkes

Studies in Contemporary Islam
"Essentially, this work... is a significant effort that will further our understanding of the mechanisms of change that have been the lot of North East Africa since the twilight of the twentieth century." —Amidu Olalekan Sanni, Lagos State University, Studies in Contemporary Islam, Vol. 10.1-2 Sp & F 2008

— Amidu Olalekan Sanni, Lagos State University

Choice - C. E. Welch

De Waal, a well-known activist and scholar of human rights in Africa, has put together a detailed, provocative book on the 1989, 2003 period, when Sudan and Somalia served as a laboratory for political Islam. De Waal and Sudanese human rights specialist A. H. Abdel Salam trace the failure and persistence of jihad and specific outcomes in Sudan. They argue that Islamists failed to overcome some major theoretical and practical weaknesses. The Somali civil war receives attention from French scholar Roland Marchal; M. A. Mohamed Salih writes on Islamic NGOs and the Somali civil war. Although Islamists have mounted small-scale projects (local social mobilization has both provided strength and proven adaptability), Islamic civil society as expressed in neo-fundamentalist Islamism is inherently limited, impeding freedom of expression and intellectual creativity. Mental closure, de Waal argues, is not inherent in Islamism itself, however. Muslims must exercise intellectual leadership in order to create a more open society, and external adversaries must allow space for this debate. Readers may disagree with the editor's assertion, The United States is so powerful that it no longer needs to know much about the rest of the world and adapt its power to local realities. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers and undergraduate collections.C. E. Welch, University at Buffalo, SUNY, Choice, June 2005

BBC World Service - Patrick Gilkes

"... a scholarly and critical analysis of Islamism in Sudan and the Horn of Africa, linking it with its roots in Egypt and unravelling its ideological, sociological and political facets." —Patrick Gilkes, BBC World Service

Studies in Contemporary Islam - Amidu Olalekan Sanni

"Essentially, this work... is a significant effort that will further our understanding of the mechanisms of change that have been the lot of North East Africa since the twilight of the twentieth century." —Amidu Olalekan Sanni, Lagos State University, Studies in Contemporary Islam, Vol. 10.1-2 Sp & F 2008

From the Publisher

"De Waal, a well-known activist and scholar of human rights in Africa, has put together a detailed, provocative book on the 1989, 2003 period, when Sudan and Somalia served as a laboratory for political Islam.... Recommended. General readers and undergraduate collections." —Choice, June 2005

De Waal, a well-known activist and scholar of human rights in Africa, has put together a detailed, provocative book on the 1989, 2003 period, when Sudan and Somalia served as a laboratory for political Islam. De Waal and Sudanese human rights specialist A. H. Abdel Salam trace the failure and persistence of jihad and specific outcomes in Sudan. They argue that Islamists failed to overcome some major theoretical and practical weaknesses. The Somali civil war receives attention from French scholar Roland Marchal; M. A. Mohamed Salih writes on Islamic NGOs and the Somali civil war. Although Islamists have mounted small-scale projects (local social mobilization has both provided strength and proven adaptability), Islamic civil society as expressed in neo-fundamentalist Islamism is inherently limited, impeding freedom of expression and intellectual creativity. Mental closure, de Waal argues, is not inherent in Islamism itself, however. Muslims must exercise intellectual leadership in order to create a more open society, and external adversaries must allow space for this debate. Readers may disagree with the editor's assertion, The United States is so powerful that it no longer needs to know much about the rest of the world and adapt its power to local realities. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers and undergraduate collections.C. E. Welch, University at Buffalo, SUNY, Choice, June 2005

Choice

"De Waal, a well-known activist and scholar of human rights in Africa, has put together a detailed, provocative book on the 1989, 2003 period, when Sudan and Somalia served as a laboratory for political Islam.... Recommended. General readers and undergraduate collections." —Choice, June 2005

Foreign Affairs
A decade before the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in 1996, a fundamentalist Islamic regime emerged in Sudan, with the stated ambition of bringing about a radical transformation of public life throughout northeastern Africa, a notoriously unstable region riven by multiple civil conflicts and traditional rivalries. In this often fascinating book, a must-read for anyone interested in the role of Islam in Africa, de Waal and his collaborators shed considerable light on political Islam's complex legacy in the region. They explain that fundamentalist Islamic ideologies helped create associations that deliver vital social and economic services at the local level but that proved too dogmatic and simplistic to provide much constructive guidance for ruling a modern nation-state; indeed, the romance of permanent jihad led the Sudanese government into a tragically pointless civil war with the non-Muslim south, as well as destructive relations with its neighbors to try to win that war. A particularly excellent chapter discusses the role of Islam in the collapse of the Somali state.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253344038
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2004
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Alex de Waal is a director of Justice Africa, a London-based organization that supports human rights, peace, and democracy in Africa. He is author of many books and articles, including Famine Crimes: Politics and the Disaster Relief Industry in Africa (IUP, 1997).

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. On the Failure and Persistence of Jihad A. H. Abdel Salam and Alex de Waal
3. Islamism, Jihad, and State Power in Sudan Alex de Waal and A. H. Abdel Salam
4. Islamic Dynamics in the Somali Civil War Roland Marchal
5. The Promise and Peril of Islamic Voluntarism M. A. Mohamed Salih
6. The Politics of Destabilization in the Horn, 1989-2001 Alex de Waal
7. Africa, Islamism, and America's "War on Terror" After September 11 Alex de Waal

Indiana University Press

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