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Historical and contemporary accounts
Narrating the pilgrimage to Mecca discusses a wide variety of historical and contemporary personal accounts of the pilgrimage to Mecca, most of which presented in English for the first time. The book addresses how being situated in a specific cultural context and moment in history informs the meanings attributed to the pilgrimage experience. The various contributions reflect on how, in their stories, pilgrims draw on multiple cultural discourses and practices that shape their daily lifeworlds to convey how the pilgrimage to Mecca speaks to their senses and moves them emotionally. Together, the written memoirs and oral accounts discussed in the book offer unique insights in Islam’s rich and evolving tradition of hajj and ʿumra storytelling.

Contributors
Kholoud Al-Ajarma, Piotr Bachtin, Vladimir Bobrovnikov, Marjo Buitelaar, Nadia Caidi, Simon Coleman, Thomas Ecker, Zahir Janmohamed, Khadija Kadrouch-Outmany, Ammeke Kateman, Yahya Nurgat, Jihan Safar, Neda Saghaee, Leila Seurat, Richard van Leeuwen and Miguel Ángel Vázquez.

Abstract

Religious studies of Rwanda typically focus on Christianity’s involvement before, during, and after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, also referred to as the Rwandan Genocide. Rwanda’s postgenocide reconstruction has witnessed new and changing political and social commitments by previously established religious organisations such as the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Adventist Churches. The Rwandan government has taken a more progressive stance on divisions of power and religious institutions, and the promotion of religious freedoms that has benefitted the domestic Muslim population. This essay examines how Judaism, a previously unknown religion in the region, is impacting Rwandan identity formation. Jewish identity is increasingly being tied to the nation’s own reconstructed identity, with a strong focus on historical persecution, rebuilding after genocide, and development. This essay suggests that Rwandan identity and religious studies should include the ever-growing ties with Jews and Israel to better understand its political and social reconstruction since 1994.

Open Access
In: Journal of Religion in Africa

Abstract

Historically entangled with nation, race, and religion, questions of belonging are pressing and affective ones in Africa and Europe. Against the backdrop of anti-migrant hostility, globalization, and autochthonous claims, I consider how born-again Christians in London negotiate belonging between Kenya, their country of origin, and the United Kingdom, their country of residence. As ‘migrants’ and ‘diasporans’, they are seen as not belonging in either national context. Adopting a scalar approach, I argue that their identification as born-again Christians and claim to membership in a global Christian community allows them to ‘scale-jump’ and offers a morally and emotionally meaningful sense of belonging. At the same time, their encounters with various racial and religious Others locally, nationally, and transnationally mediate where they feel at ‘home’. In the face of contradictions and ambivalence, Pentecostalism helps them to navigate competing symbolic, material, and affective concerns as they seek belonging across multiple sociospatial scales.

Open Access
In: Journal of Religion in Africa
A Historical Narrative from Ignatius of Loyola to Pedro Arrupe
Author:
Jesuits have been in Africa since the founding of their order, yet their history there remains poorly researched. Although scholars have begun to focus on specific regions such as Congo, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe, a comprehensive picture of the entire Jesuit experience on the continent has hitherto been lacking. In a condensed yet accessible way, Jesuits in Africa fills that lacuna. Narrating the story century by century from the time of St. Ignatius of Loyola (c.1491–1556), founder of the Jesuits, to that of Pedro Arrupe (1907–91, in office 1965–83), twenty-eighth superior general of the Society, this book makes Jesuit history in Africa available to a general readership while offering scholars a broad view in which specialized topics can be conceived and deepened.

Abstract

Jesuits have been in Africa since they were founded, yet their history there remains poorly documented. Although scholars have started to focus on specific regions like Congo, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, a comprehensive picture of the entire Jesuit experience on the continent is still lacking. In a condensed yet accessible way, Jesuits in Africa fills that lacuna. Narrating the story century by century from the time of St. Ignatius of Loyola (c.1491–1556), founder of the Jesuits, to that of Pedro Arrupe (1907–91, in office 1965–83), 28th general superior of the Society, the book makes Jesuit history in Africa available to a general readership while offering scholars a broad view in which specialized topics can be conceived and deepened.

Open Access
In: Jesuits in Africa
Author:

Abstract

Religious extremism presents an ideological perspective found in most major religions and is currently associated with various forms of religiously motivated acts of violence. A conceptual framework is adopted to study the warning features of religious extremism and apply it to case studies of Nigeria, Uganda, and the Central African Republic (CAR). The application of a religious jihadism model to Christianity provides a comparative basis for assessing Islamic radical jihadism, helping to understand religion as a security threat, with particular reference to Christian contexts and examples. Using extremist rhetoric and the mobilization of Christian rituals, members of religious groups attempt to renegotiate their position in the public space within a society from which they are excluded due to political, social, and economic dynamics based on their exclusion. This study finds no significant difference between Islamic jihad and Christian jihad, as each seeks to politically exploit religion for political ends.

Open Access
In: Journal of Religion in Africa
Author:

Abstract

Mayotte, a French department since 2011 despite being socially, culturally and geographically one of the Comoro Islands, has in recent years been a primary destination for migrants from the neighbouring island of Ndzuani. The strains placed upon the infrastructure of Mayotte have led to increasing acts of violence against these migrants, while the French state deports them in their thousands. However, while economics and politics may be the ostensible cause of resentment towards these people, the fact that the two islands have much in common, and that the majority of the population of Mayotte are descended from earlier migrants from Ndzuani, suggest that deeper social forces are at work. In this paper I explore the often antagonistic, often intimate relationships between the two groups, drawing upon the concept of mimesis to analyse the encounter between two peoples who are, in different ways, subaltern in their own land.

Open Access
In: Across the Waves
In: Across the Waves
Author:

Abstract

This article presents documents relating to the embassy sent by Sultan ʿAbd al-Raḥmān of Darfur to the Ottoman Sultan Selim III in 1791. These include an original Arabic letter which is an unusually early surviving example of sultanic correspondence from the Sahel. The documents permit a new interpretation of the purposes of the embassy, as well as an examination of chancery practice in Darfur, and offer an insight into Darfuri views of the outside world. To aid the analysis, the article compares this letter with a second surviving letter from ʿAbd al-Raḥmān addressed to Napoleon Bonaparte around 1800, of which the Arabic text has not previously been published.

Open Access
In: Islamic Africa

Abstract

This research interrogates how ulo ubu functioned, both as a trado-religious activity and simultaneously/presently as a social regulatory mechanism for the Amasiri people. It explores the religious underpinning and cultural practices in ulo ubu, as well as how it performs a regulatory function in relation to the marriage, justice, religious, economic, and education sectors of the Amasiri community. The qualitative research methodology was of great importance in this study, aiding in the discursive analysis, interpretation, and presentation of discoveries of the nuances of Amasiri ATR beliefs (ulo ubu), and how ulo ubu has informed and shaped the social practices of the community both in the past and the present. The pressure of modernization may have pushed the practice of ulo ubu away from the public space, but this research demonstrates that its imprints still thrive as a social regulatory mechanism The study concludes that ulo ubu performed a regulatory function through the age grade system that it birthed, an informal education process featuring women’s groups, an economic process through gifting during marriage celebrations, and others. This paper strongly recommends religio-cultural value education consistent with the realities of the present age to assuage the effects of the generational gap prompted by various factors.

Open Access
In: Journal of Religion in Africa