Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Islam and South Africa

A very interesting story appeared in today's Seattle P-I on a new visa requirement by the British government for visitors from South Africa. The concern is about controlling the movement of Islamic militants. What is of interest to me, is that since 1996, I have noticed an increased presence of Islamic militancy in the urban areas and a subsequent movement of Islam into remote rural areas, such as those in the Transkei in the photo above. I was part of an interview at a Durban mosque in 1996, where the imam delivered a rant as good as any Taliban message after 2001. In 2005, we noticed that madrases have been opened way out in the middle-of-nowhere where one used to find Christian missionaries. In towns on the Wild Coast, Muslim business owners will only hire people who convert. In a country of massive unemployment, this is a powerful incentive. South Africa has a large, interesting Muslim population with a rich heritage from diverse nations. The changes in the last two decades mirror the changes that have taken place in other parts of the world with regard to political Islam.
This photo is of a mosque in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
See the article in the Mail & Guardian on Britain's new visa requirements.

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