Anyanwu Article Focuses on Islamic Revivalism in Africa

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The second edition of “(re)Tracing Africa: A Multidisciplinary Study of African History, Societies and Culture,” co-edited by EKU faculty members Dr. Ogechi Anyanwu and Dr. Salome Nnoromele, contains an article by Anyanwu on “Islam and Islamic Revivalism in Africa.”

The article “seeks to highlight the importance of Islam in the transformation of Africa since the Pre-Colonial Period,” said Anyanwu. “It argues that Islam impacted politics, economy, culture and criminal justice in mostly North Africa, West Africa, and East Africa during the Pre-Colonial Period. In the areas where Islam spread, it served as a crucial source of social solidarity and identity. The westernization and Christianization occasioned by European colonial rule in the 19thand 20th centuries threatened to weaken the collective conscience of Muslims. Attempts to reassert Islamic identity suppressed during the colonial period have made the revival of Islamic practices in post-colonial Africa tricky and often violent. As the article argues, the exploitation of the clash of Western and Islamic civilizations by a tiny, misguided minority who often use Islam to justify violent acts against both innocent Muslims and non-Muslims has often led to prejudice, fear, hatred, and discrimination against Muslims in the Western world. Separating true Islamic adherents from the usurpers, the paper insists, is crucial in order to appreciate the contributions Islam has made to African civilization in particular and world history in general.”

Anyanwu said the book was written to “provide a more balanced and comprehensive analysis of African history, societies and cultures since the Pre-Colonial Period (and) seeksto engage with existing narratives on Africa by discussing Africa's Pre-Colonial heritage, the changes that occurred during the Colonial period and the successful and sometimes unsuccessful attempts by Post-Colonial leaders in Africa to either 'decolonize' or renegotiate with the inherited social, political, and economic institutions and structures.

“Our hope,” Anyanwu said, “is to contribute our own share in the ongoing efforts by Africanists to deconstruct existing myths, stereotypes and misrepresentations of Africa in the western world. Many professors in American and Nigerian universities have adopted this book and the feedback we get from them, including their students, is positive.”  

Published on February 28, 2015

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