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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Indians, Islam and the Meaning of South African Citizenship: a Question of Identities
Author:Vahed, Goolam H.
Periodical:Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa
Geographic term:South Africa
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Politics and Government
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Abstract:This study focuses on how Durban's Indian Muslims are grappling with the questions posed by modernity, social diversity and the destruction of old and respected traditions. It shows that while many South African Muslims have been repositioning themselves or feel the need to do so, in the context of an ANC-ruled democratic South Africa that has placed itself firmly on a secular foundation, they have been repositioning themselves in different ways. There is not one Muslim community but several. There are varying degrees of 'fundamentalism' or 'conservatism' among them. Apart from sharing an unease about the growing influence of American cultural and economic influence, Durban's Muslims are not inclined to establish militias to mete out 'just' punishments or to take to the streets to protect Islamic values. The identities of Muslims in postapartheid South Africa are shifting. While they have access to a wide range of identities in the new South Africa, most of them are turning nostalgically to an invented past of perfect Islamic sociality. The perception of being Muslim is strengthening and Islam is becoming an important component in self-description. Indian Muslims in Durban seek to introduce new and tighter Islamic codes in the public and private domains, but they are not necessarily seeking to undermine the State. Indeed, they are using the new freedoms of a secular State to create space for themselves and are thereby redefining for themselves the kind of Muslims they want to be. Bibliogr., notes, ref.