Within Africa, as well as outside the continent, the writings and videocassettes of Ahmed Deedat have been, and still are, most influential. In this article, Deedat's great interest in religious polemics, especially against Christianity, has been interpreted primarily as an apologetical endeavour influenced largely by the marginal and exposed situation of the small minority of Muslims in the strongly Christiandominated South Africa. Deedat's main task was to provide Muslims with theological tools for defending themselves against the intense missionary strivings of many Christian denominations. He spoke and wrote for the Muslim masses rather than for learned scholars, and the fact that he used English instead of Arabic or some other 'Muslim' language further increased the availability of his writings among, for instance, Muslim minorities in Europe and North America.
This comparative and historical study focuses on religious aspects of disease etiologies among five, systematically selected, African peoples: the San, Maasai, Sukuma, Kongo and Yoruba. Unlike the homogenizing tendencies of many earlier comparative works by scholars of religion, this book highlights the differences between and the plurality within the religions and cultures of the selected peoples, as well as processes of change. The work covers a period of about 100 years, from the late 19th to the late 20th century, and much of the material used comes from European mission archives. To different degrees among the peoples studied, there has been a gradual shift from an emphasis on spiritual beings such as God and ancestors to living humans like ‘witches’ as agents of disease. In a theoretically eclective analysis, possible reasons for this shift are discussed.
Muslim Tatar Minorities in the Baltic Sea Region, edited by Ingvar Svanberg and David Westerlund, the contributors introduce the history and contemporary situation of these little known groups of people that for centuries have been part of the religious and ethnic mosaic of this region. The book has a broad and multi-disciplinary scope and covers the early settlements in Lithuania and Poland, the later immigrations to Saint Petersburg, Finland, Estonia and Latvia, as well as the most recent establishments in Sweden and Germany. The authors, who hail from and are specialists on these areas, demonstrate that in several respects the Tatar Muslims have become well-integrated here.
Contributors are: Toomas Abiline, Tamara Bairasauskaite, Renat Bekkin, Sebastian Cwiklinski, Harry Halén, Tuomas Martikainen, Agata Nalborczyk, Egdunas Racius, Ringo Ringvee, Valters Scerbinskis, Sabira Ståhlberg, Ingvar Svanberg and David Westerlund.