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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Native foreigners and the ambiguity of order and identity: the case of African diasporas and Islamic law in British Cameroon
Author:O'Rourke, Harmony S.
Periodical:History in Africa (ISSN 1558-2744)
Geographic terms:British Cameroons
Northern Nigeria
Subjects:indirect rule
Islamic law
legal status
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/history_in_africa/v039/39.1.o-rourke.pdf
Abstract:In 1947, the colonial government in British Cameroon established an Islamic court in the Grassfields to try cases involving the region's Muslim population, primarily comprised of Fulani and Hausa diaspora communities that had settled the area since the late nineteenth century. Colonial debates over the creation and purview of the court reveal uncertainties that permeated Indirect Rule's legal categories of natives and non-natives, or tribe and race, which were to be governed by customary law and civil law, respectively. Comparing legal regimes in British Cameroon with Northern Nigeria, the homeland of 'native' Hausa and Fulani, shows that Islamic law sat uneasily across the divide between customary and civil law. With the importation of the court to the Grassfields, where Fulani and Hausa transformed into 'native foreigners', the delineation between customary and civil law was rendered even more obscure, illustrating that it could never neatly correspond to constructions of race and tribe. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]