An African Vortex: Islamism in Sub-Saharan Africa

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The Impact of Islamism

Islamism is on the rise throughout most of sub-SaharanAfrica, transforming a moderate and integrated Muslim population into an ever more extremist one that is isolated from its non-Muslim neighbors.  For African Muslims, the Islamist arrangement will entail an erosion of human rights and lead to intra-faith conflict between moderates and extremists.  For African governments, Islamism will present a challenge to central authority and generate increasingly unmanageable inter-communal strife between Muslims and non-Muslims.  And for non-Africans, Islamism will mean the continued development – in a region that, ominously, traditionally receives little attention from the Western security community – of a hospitable environment for terrorists with an international agenda.

For evidence, one needs to look no further thanSudan.  Long-engaged in a bloody drive to impose the dictates of radical Islam on Christians and animists in the southern part of the country, the Islamist regime inKhartoumhas more recently turned on its black co-religionists in theDarfurregion in a genocidal campaign aimed at what has been called the “Arabization” of that population. Sudanhas become a wasteland where numerous terror groups – including Hamas, al-Qaeda, and any number of others – have found comfortable accommodations.  Terrible as the situation is,Sudanonly hints at African Islamism’s potential for destruction.

 

Appendix A: Islam in Selected Sub-Saharan African Countries

 

 

Country

Muslim Population (in millions)

Percentage of Total Population

Benin

1.45

20

Burkina Faso

6.78

50

Burundi

0.62

10

Cameroon

3.21

20

Central African Republic

0.56

15

Chad

4.86

51

Comoros

0.64

98

Dem.Republicof theCongo

5.83

10

Coted’ Ivoire

6.06

35

Djibouti

0.44

94

Ethiopia

30.53

45

Gambia

1.39

90

Ghana

3.32

16

Guinea

7.86

85

Guinea-Bissau

0.62

45

Kenya

3.20

10

Liberia

0.68

10

Madagascar

1.22

7

Malawi

2.38

20

Mali

10.76

100

Mozambique

3.76

20

Niger

9.08

80

Nigeria

68.62

50

Senegal

10.20

94

Sierra Leone

3.53

60

Somalia

8.30

100

South Africa

0.85

2

Sudan

27.40

70

Tanzania

12.80

35

Togo

1.11

20

Uganda

4.22

16

Total

244.84

        –

 

                        Source: The CIA World Factbook 2004 (Washington,D.C.: CIA, 2004).

 

Note: Countries listed above are those with Muslim populations of more

than 500,000.  Though not listed due to insufficient data, various estimates

placeEritrea’s Muslim population at 2.2 million, roughly 50 percent of its

total population.

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