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The Legacy of Arab-Islam In Africa: A Quest for Inter-religious Dialogue Paperback – August 27, 2001


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About the Author

John Allembillah Azumah is presently Professor of World Christianity & Islam and Director of International Programs at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur. He was formerly based at the Henry Martyn Institute for Reconciliation and Understanding in Hyderabad, India. He is an expert on Islam in colonial Africa, and has published widely on this subject.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (August 27, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851682732
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851682737
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book gives an entirely new perspective on the history of the spread of Islam in Africa. It argues that while Christianity has had a great deal written about its negative impact on African culture and religions, and its role in the slave trade, Islam on the hand has been perceived as a natural fit for the Africans and one which spread without resort to violence, slavery and other sins that Christians were guilty of. Azumah argues credibly that this perception is biased and uncritical. And that the evidence would suggest otherwise. An excellent read for those interested in the history of religion in Africa.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By M.H.G. on August 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
I agree with the three 5-star reviews already given here. This is a top-notch work by someone with a vast knowledge of the subject.

It would be, however, a big undertaking for many people to read. The toponyms, personal and tribal names number in the hundreds. It would have been useful to have included a map for locations and the trans-Saharan slave trade routes. The work is carefully nuanced, and its being a compromise between a dissertation and a book for the larger public has resulted in a basically good but wordy writing style. I encourage people to plow on through it despite that. The knowledge and perspective are a valuable contribution to anybody's viewpoint.

Azumah wrote this with the intention of contributing to the inter-religious dialogue among African Christians, Muslims, and traditional worshippers. His addressing the issues of this in the 5th chapter does not make me optimistic about the success of such discussions.

Very rightly he does not attempt to exonerate the Western Christian oppression and enslavement of Africans. Rather he points out that Muslims of the past brought upon themselves an enormous amount of guilt due to their treatment of Africans. Justifications for these crimes were based on Islamic religious arguments, including the jihad ideology. For an inter-religious dialogue to be fruitful today, Muslims must acknowledge these facts and look at their heritage critically, painful as that may be.

One aspect which gave me some comfort was that Europeans, particularly the French and English, contributed to halting the jihadists and slave traders. European imperialism was not all bad.

The whole work is good, but if reading its entirety is too tedious, chapters 2-4 are the core for those who are most interested in the history of Islam in Africa.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Auguste Isaac on November 22, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well written, deeply researched and balanced presentation of the less than benign role of Islam in Africa and the devastating Muslim slave trade, which overwhelms the Alantic slave trade in duration, extent and brutality. It carefully distinguishes the context, motivations, and impact of pre-Islamic slavery in Africa from the more economically, politically and religiously motivated and sanctioned fourteen centuries of Muslim slavery in Africa. It reviews centuries of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish works back to even medieval times which demonize blacks as "...lazy, stupid, evil-smelling and lecherous slaves...", or "untruthful, vicious, sexually unbridled, ugly and distorted...", or being "nothing more or less than the symbol of wickedness and barbarism...", or which claim that "the Negro does not differ from an animal in anything except his hands have been lifted from the earth", and thus justifiably questions if `the extent to which racial prejudice in Western Europe against blacks could have Muslim influences, since the former owes much of its medieval literature and philosophical tradition to Muslims'.

Especially sobering is the observation that by '...placing blacks under a mythological curse, stereotyping and stigmatizing them on account of the content of their belief and color of their skin, Muslims of all races waged war against and raided Africans, killing millions and reducing others to slaver of the last 14 centuries.'

It is noted that while both the non-Muslim and Muslim worlds must understand these ugly facts, Muslims in particular must also accept the Muslim share of responsibility for the consequent centuries of untold pain and suffering heaped on Africans by the introduction of a foreign religion and in the name of the God of that religion, if there is to be constructive dialogue between the two.

This is powerful read for anyone interested in more than an apologia for Islam in Africa.
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To think that this has been going on for more than the last fourteen hundred years is staggering. To merely think of only the number of little African boys that have been killed and mutilated in the name of these outrageously organised criminals, masquerading under the guise of a religion, stuns credibility. A "religion" that encourages its adherents to exterminate others that do not share its beliefs. Millions of innocent little African boys must have lost their lives to these hideous practices. And the little African girls that have been haremised by this "religion". This is certainly the equivalent of "King Leopold's Ghost".

"A quest for inter-religious dialogue?" Thorough Nonsense!!! More a case for world expose`, and most certainly one for bringing these criminals before an international forum for justice. This is unmitigated criminality. The contents of this book must be given all the publicity it merits. The highest credit to John Alembillah Azumah for exposing these activities to the world's attention in writing this book.
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