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Title:The function of Islam in the South African political process: Defining a community in a nation
Author:Tayob, Abdulkader I.ISNI
Book title:Religion and social transformation in southern Africa
Editors:Walsh, T.G.
Kaufmann, F.
City of publisher:St. Paul
Publisher:Paragon House
Geographic term:South Africa
Abstract:This essay looks at the role of Muslims in South Africa's democratization process. In particular, it examines how various groups of Muslims in the country tried to construct relations between Muslims and the nation, and Muslims and the new State. Such an examination highlights two important facets of contemporary Muslim discourse. On the one hand, it illustrates the dynamic nature in which Muslims construct an understanding of the Muslim community. Each group or organization proposed a distinct conception of 'ummah', the universal Islamic society, as well as its South African part. On the other hand, the group or organization also posited a distinct notion of the postapartheid nation and State. A careful look at a variety of documents produced at the close of apartheid shows how contrasting mythological and contractual models divided the Muslims in their attitude towards the emerging South African nation. With regard to postapartheid South Africa, Muslims were redivided between those who opposed or resisted democracy, and those who endorsed it as the foundation of the new nation. Ref.