Friday, June 09, 2006

Is African Islam changing?
As the Islamic Courts militia gain the upper hand in the battle for Mogadishu, is hardline Islam on the rise in Africa?

The courts were set up several years ago, funded by businessmen who preferred any semblance of law and order to complete anarchy. They want to set up Sharia law to end the years of lawlessness.
Nigeria, where there are about 60m Muslims, has already seen a strict Islamic law adopted across its northern states, leading to tension and violence.
What is Islam like in your country? As a Muslim, have you noticed a change? Is militant Islam on the rise in Africa? If so, why is this happening? Do you think that Sharia law could end the lawlessness in Somalia?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Your comments:
But the public has backed the courts and now the warlords are driven out of the city. Rashid Karshe, London, England

Warlords in Mogadishu have killed and maimed thousands of people they have opposed every opportunity presented to Somalis to find a solution and restore order. The Islamic Courts were initially set up by group of business men to protect their trade. They also run schools and settle local feuds and disagreements by way of Sharia law and the public trust them. The warlords do not want to lose their grip and they have formed a coalition to fight the courts. But the public has backed the courts and now the warlords are driven out of the city. It is a way out for thousands of people. Rashid Karshe, London, England

African Islam is not changing or is not different. All the Muslims of the world believe in only one God 'Allah ' and follow His Prophet Muhammad. Islam is peaceful. Ahmad khan, Monrovia, Liberia

An ideal Islamic state that has an ideal Sharia implementation doesn't exist in today's world Dr. Falalu Dahiru Danwata, Preston, UK

Sharia is there to uphold the laws that govern the way of life of the Muslims. Laws govern all aspects of life. Unfortunately, commentators always draw their conclusions from criminal aspects of Sharia, which constitute only a small proportion. Aspects of Sharia that deals with trade, for example, is not discussed. An ideal Islamic state that has an ideal Sharia implementation doesn't exist in today's world. Dr. Falalu Dahiru Danwata, Preston, UK

What do you mean African Islam? Why is it that the West, and the media especially has to categorise Muslims from Africa differently from Pakistani or Arab or Chechen. There is no such thing as African Islam just as there is no such thing as African Christianity or African Judaism. Mohammed, Leicester

Islam is a religion of peace and that is enforced into the law Ilwad, London
The Sharia law is a fair law. If it was something negative then surely people wouldn't so readily accept it. Islam is a religion of peace and that is enforced into the law. It takes away the dictatorship that rules so many African countries. I truly believe that it is for the best. Ilwad, London

Islam is all about "PEACE". A Muslim should always remember it. Anyone taking the law into their hands by killing innocents are not Muslim. YUSUF YEBBI, Abuja, Nigeria

Sierra Leonean Muslims are really showing the others that Christians and Muslims can live together peacefully Victor Chambers (S/Leonean), Accra, Ghana

Islam in my home country is very peaceful compared to Nigeria and Somalia. Most of them attend Christian schools, attend church services and even learn Christian prayers which I doubt happens in Nigeria or Somalia. Sierra Leonean Muslims are really showing the others that Christians and Muslims can live together peacefully. Victor Chambers (S/Leonean), Accra, Ghana

I think Islam is on the rise in Africa because people are looking for better alterative to dictatorship, Islam will improve the lawless Somalia because that's what the people want. Ali, London

The word `ISLAM` means complete submission to the will of ALLAH. People who are involved in wars should not use the word as far as i am concerned. I known when they die hell fire is the only place for them. Moreover, the introduction of Sharia will not end the lawlessness in Somalia considering the culture and the different tribes in the country. MOHAMED KEN SESAY, FREETOWN , SIERRALEONE

The evolution of the nation-state over time has generated the notion that the state is the guarantor of peace and security. The inability of the state to ensure the safety of its citizens, is the main cause of the anarchical nature of Somali politics. Anarchy breeds discontent to such levels that any society would seek alternatives to restore what it considers as norms and values. Pauline Agumba, USA

The western nations have not paid attention to the drastically changing Islam in Africa. Even in Ethiopia where the Christians and Muslims lived peacefully for centuries, now signs are featuring that the Muslims do not want to associate with their Christian neighbours. Chalew, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Muslims form the Majority in the Gambia, but the cordial relationship is just exemplary. I do believe that militant Islam is rising . Kemo Cham, Serekunda, The Gambia

Because of the changed international geopolitical situation, the role of Islam has changed too. The west sees the Islamic world as the main threat where it used to be the Soviet-Union. Because of this, Muslims see themselves as opponents of the west. I think we have to go through this islamisation of politics for years to see that it won't work, just like communism didn't work. Moussa Aynan, Nador, Morocco

As a Muslim i have noticed a change for the better in my country with the re introduction of Sharia. Whatever the West say about it Sharia, it has come to stay for life. Period! Hamisu Salihu, Hadejia, Nigeria

It seems where ever Sharia law is 'Imposed' there is tension and violence. It also nearly always signals a reduction in women's rights, and the rights of other religious groups. Chris, Slough, England

20 years ago Muslims in Africa were at peace with others. They inter-married and protected their neighbours irrespective of their religion. Now, they ostracize themselves and attack others who don't share their views. There has to be a foreign influence and we have to stop this influence. Nike, Nigeria

Islam is not a religion, it is a way of life. So when Muslims become disenchanted with their so called "leader", they turn to what they know best, ISLAM. Perfect example is Palestine electing Hamas. In fact, if you let any Muslim nation choose who they really want, they will always choose the Islamists over the so called "democrats". Sharmarke Said Issa, Ottawa, Canada

Story from BBC NEWS: 2006/06/02 11:58:59 GMT© BBC MMVI

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