The unique desire of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to turn its back on revenge and to create a space where deeper processes of “forgiveness, confession, repentance, reparation, and reconciliation can take place” reflects the spirit of some churches and faith communities in South Africa.
Christianity has been spread in Africa by Africans. It is the story of peoples seizing control of their own spiritual destinies—rather than the commonplace notion that the continent's Christian churches represent colonial and capitalist powers that helped subdue Africans to European domination. In short, once introduced, Christianity took on a powerful life of its own and spun out of the control of those who would retain ownership of doctrine and practice.
This interdisciplinary book focuses primarily on Sufism (“African Islam”), Islamism (“Islam in Africa”) and, in particular, on the interaction between these different forms of Islam. Previously, much interest has been concentrated on the critical Islamist views of Western or Western–influenced ideas and patterns of life, while the intra–Muslim relationship between Sufis and Islamists has attracted less attention.
In the case of Nigeria, scholarship on religious politics has not adequately taken into account the pluralistic context and the idealistic pretensions of the state that inhibit the possibility of forging an enduring civic amity among Nigeria’s diverse groups. Ilesanmi proposes a new philosophy or model of religio-political interaction, which he calls dialogic politics.
Religious activities have been of continuing importance in the rise of protest against postcolonial governments in Eastern Africa. Issues considered include attempts by government to “manage” religious affairs in both Muslim and Christian areas; religious denominations as surrogate oppositions to one-party-state regimes and as advocates of human rights; Islamic fundamentalism before and after the end of the Cold War; and Christian churches as NGOs in the age of structural adjustment.
Twice in this century popular revolts against colonial rule have occured in the Banten district of West Java. These revolts, conducted largely under an Islamic leadership, also proclaimed themselves Communist. Islamic Communism is seemingly a paradox. This is especially the case when one considers that probably no religion has proved more resistant to Communist ideology than Islam.
In our time, we require a religion, ethics, and politics adequate to confront the global crises we face. In our scientific era of “progress,” we might expect to look with confidence to the “scientific” disciplines of political science, sociology, and economics to solve the problems of our civilization. We might also look to the older disciplines of religion and ethics to determine our values and to tell us what we ought to do.
This volume addresses the complex issue of the Christian response to the Nicaraguan revolution from a perspective generally sympathetic to the Sandinista’s goals. Luis Serra, himself a Latin American who has worked with the peasantry, argues that the institutional Church has now become a major autonomous source of opposition to the revolution.