Academic journal article The International Journal of African Historical Studies

The Cross and the Crescent: Religion and Politics in Tanzania from the 1880s to the 1990s

Academic journal article The International Journal of African Historical Studies

The Cross and the Crescent: Religion and Politics in Tanzania from the 1880s to the 1990s

Article excerpt

The Cross and the Crescent: Religion and Politics in Tanzania from the 1880s to the 1990s. By Lawrence E.Y. Mbogoni. Dar es Salaam, Tanz.: Mkuki wa Nyota Publishers, 2005. Distributed by African Books Collective, Oxford, U.K. £20.95/$34.95 paper.

Laurence Mbogoni's timely contribution to the debate on Muslim/Christian relations in Tanzania elucidates the challenges that scholars face when examining contemporary tensions and conflicts. The Cross versus the Crescent, published by the Tanzania-based Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, is presented as a scholarly rejoinder to Hamza Njozi's The Mwembechai Killings (Ottawa, 2000), which offers a detailed account and polemic commentary on the violence that erupted in and around the Mwembechai mosques in Dar es Salaam in 1998.

Despite promises by Mbogoni to correct some of the biases that he detects in Njozi's work, he falls victim to the same weakness, articulating an equally biased perspective on religious tensions in the country. The following quote summarizes Mbogoni's fundamental normative assumption that resurfaces throughout his book: "By and large, the cause of Christian-Muslim hostilities in the 1990s was the concerted Muslim effort to discredit Christianity in order to convert Christians to Islam" (p. 189).

In addition to the problem of bias, Mbogoni also offers comparative examples that often distract the reader from the book's main themes. References to the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Yoruba in Nigeria, and Quranic schools in West Africa have the potential to offer interesting insights into the potential triggers of religious conflict, but the author does not succeed in using these examples productively. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.