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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Arabs and Swahili Culture
Author:Harries, Lyndon P.
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic terms:East Africa
Subjects:Arab culture
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Arab-African relations
External links:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1158023
Abstract:The culture of the Swahili-speaking peoples of the East African coast shows features of Perso-Arabian origin that are foreign to the culture of other Bantu peoples of East Africa. A fairly safe criterion in East Africa for the identification of the so called Swahili culture is the practice of Islam. For political reasons the dichotomy between African and Arab has been exaggerated. There are varying degrees of racial consciousness but only in a small minority of the population is racial purity so exclusive asto make it a clear-cut racial issue. All Swahili-speaking Muslims of the East African coast, whether primarily or even entirely of African descent, or of Arab or Persian stock, are in fact Swahilis as well. It was after the Portuguese period that with the Hadrami and the Omani Arab influence became more important. The principal differences between those two peoples have disappeared. The author examines the decline of the Omani de Zanzibar, especially with regard to the Swahili language. Reference notes; French summary.