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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Giving a name to Islam south of the Sahara: an adventure in taxonomy
Author:Triaud, Jean-LouisISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History (ISSN 0021-8537)
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021853713000820
Abstract:This article revisits the concept of 'islam noir' (black Islam) crafted in the context of French rule of subSaharan Muslims. For the French colonial administration, 'islam noir' connoted the idea of a degraded Islam tainted by animist practices and therefore different from the pure Islam practiced in Arab countries. This differentiation was a way to separate it from 'Arab Islam', which was considered a subversive model. This distinction was not entirely new for it had already a long history behind it. Arabic sources had often shown a high distrust of subSaharan Africans who converted to Islam; they never really enjoyed a status equal to that of Arab Muslims. After the end of colonial rule, the story still continues. The theme of a specific subSaharan Islam ('African Islam') remained a convenient category that was used by scholars, regardless of old prejudices. In the latest period, some African intellectuals have also embraced this concept, conjoining it with the pride of blackness, as a kind of Islam 'de la négritude', while praising its orthodoxy. It is this long epistemological and taxonomical adventure of islam noir that is examined here. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]