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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Zanzibar's geography of evil: the moral discourse of the Ansar al-sunna in contemporary Zanzibar
Author:Loimeier, RomanISNI
Periodical:Journal for Islamic studies (ISSN 0257-7062)
Geographic term:Zanzibar
Abstract:This article describes how Muslim activist groups in Zanzibar have attacked the 'secular State' and the government of the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), through issues of public morality. Due to their constant attacks against alleged un-Islamic innovations ('bida' in Arabic), Muslim activists have been labelled publicly 'watu wa bidaa', i.e. people of the 'bida', but members of these groups prefer to call themselves 'Ansar al-sunna' (companions of the Sunna). The public discourse of the Ansar al-sunna has not been confined to polemics on popular religion, politics and the role of the Mufti, but it also deals with issues such as the nefarious effects of tourism, beauty contests and other forms of alleged moral decay, including homosexuality, the public consumption of alcohol, and drug trafficking. A major preoccupation in oppositional Muslim discourse has been the increasing Christian influence in Zanzibar and the way in which the government has manipulated Muslim-Christian relations. Also the Zanzibar International Film festival has become part of the Muslim activist mantra of evil. The article explains why the 'watu wa bidaa' have failed so far to make an impact on Zanzibari society. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]