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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Islamic NGOs in Africa

....The power and influence of Islamic NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) have grown significantly in the last 25-50 years. These organizations are often a cover for the radicalization of local Islamic tribes, the expansion of multi-national jihadist influence, and outside oposition to local evangelical Christian activites.

...It may be that the battle for the hearts and minds of the lost world will be played out on earth between active multi-national Evangelical Christain and Islamic NGOS...

•In the fourteen centuries since the introduction of Islam, Muslims have played important roles in Africa's development.
•Muslims were important in the process of state-building, in creating commercial networks between parts of the continent, in introducing literacy (which saw Muslim become scribes in charge of state records), as well as in exchanges of inter-state diplomacy within Africa and beyond.

The fall of the Ottoman empire, which ended with the Turkish abolition of the Caliphate in 1927, showed the postpoponment of mutli-national Islamic evaglelism.

  • Africa was then controlled by European Colonial Rule
    •African countries began to gain their indend\ance after 1945
    •A wave of Islamic schools came to Post colonial Africa in the 1930s and 40s when europe was waring with each other
    •These were schools simple, often rural schools
    •These were focused on alternatives to corruption and the establishment of Islamic moral principles
    •Relationship evangalism seemd to be their primary evangalist method
  • Post Ottoman activities
    •45-60s were characterised by Soviet-US politics and the establishment of local muslim groups and some tribal conversions
    •1960s-1970s were characterised by the transformation of community-based organisations and urban associations into “modern” urban charity and local voluntary development organisations.
  • The Dawah or school movement
    •The Dawah Movement may be categorized into two; the first group belongs to
    –those who conduct the propagation of Islam to non-Muslims
    –those who target Muslims, particularly the ‘lapsed’ Muslims.
    •The two groups differ much in their objectives and activities.
    •They share a common aim and that is to propagate Islam.
  • Islamic Response to Colonialsim
    The emergence of Islamic NGOs...dates back to the colonial period, and to a large extent it is a reaction against Christian missionary activities and their capacity to combine religious and educational, as well as health and social activities.
  • The Scope of Islamic NGOS expand
    •African Islamic NGOs are active in:
    –Child care
    –Community health
    – Water
    –legal assistance
    –Advocacy networking,
    –Relief, famine and food distribution
  • Islamic NGOS proliferate
    •By the 1970s-1980s African NGOs began to expand rapidly under the influence of foreign NGOs,
    •To a large extent, this was a result of recurrent droughts and civil wars, in Angola, Chad, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Sudan, Somalia and Uganda.
  • Islamic NGOS Gain Influence in Africa
    •Afro-Arab dialogue was augmented by the newly founded power of the Islamic World, particularly the oil-rich Arab countries
    •There was an increase in the acceptance of foreign NGOs by some African states which began to value their contributions to public services
    •An expansion of foreign NGO activities, particularly in relief and rehabilitation in war-torn countries,

  • •There emerged African NGOs independent of the state, with permission to operate in the state
    •There organisational structures were similar to foreign NGOs
    •Increasing co-operation and dialogue among and within foreign and African Islamic NGOs.
  • Islamic volunteerism expands
    The range of activities in which Islamic NGOs are engaged illustrates that they are either responding to the African crisis or taking advantage of it.
    •The politics and economics of Islamic voluntarism are expanding.
    •Islamic humanitarianism gives Islamic NGOs a peculiar role relative to their secular counterparts
  • Radical Islam is now acting with multi-national Purpose
    •in 1990, the National Islamic Front government in the Sudan initiated two new policy directives aimed at supporting the work of national Islamic NGOs in Africa:
    –Al-Tamkin :
    •Empowerment of Muslim minorities in regions that are dominantly Christian or animist

    –Al-Takaful :
    •(Social solidarity fund) whereby part of zakat is distributed amongst Islamic NGOs which in turn redistribute alms amongst the Muslim poor
  • The Zakat: an Islamic Distsinction

    •In the absence of an Islamic state, Islamic NGOs and voluntary groups undertake the role of the state by claiming zakat and by distributing among the poor, albeit in a modern NGO setting.
    •In many states with a majority population of Muslims zakat has been distributed through an elaborate voluntary system, rather than having been accumulated in bait al mal (Islamic state treasury).
    •The totality of Islamic ethics, law, politics and economics come together in a completely modern form of caring Muslim communities.
  • Conclusions
    •NGOs are diverse and range from the politically militant to the truly benevolent.
    •Islamic NGOs have acquired the organisational capacity and structure of modern secular NGOs
    •They claim a religious role inspired by the intimate association between religion, politics and economic welfare in puritan Islam
  • Much more information is available here.

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