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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The first line against second class citizenship: the Eritrean Muslim League, Islamic institutional autonomy, and representation on the eve of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Federation, 1950-52
Author:Venosa, Joseph L.ISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies (ISSN 0361-7882)
Geographic terms:Eritrea
civil and political rights
Abstract:The brief but tumultuous period between the UN's passage of Resolution 390-A, legislation that established the guidelines for an eventual federation government between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and the formal transfer of power from British to federal authority in mid-September 1952 witnessed a considerable transformation within the Eritrean nationalist movement and especially in the Muslim League. Having lost the wider battle for unconditional independence, the nationalist camp redoubled their efforts aimed at guaranteeing the greatest possible autonomy for Eritrea within the Federation government. While the League leadership continued to embrace an inclusive nationalist vision, its constituents began concerning themselves with what the Federation would mean specifically for Muslim fortunes. This article uses indigenous language newspapers, organizational publications from the period in question, interviews, and previously unexamined archive collections from Eritrea and Britain to argue that the focus on Islamic institutional integrity became the League's main rallying cry as its members more overtly promoted Muslim representation and political rights for Eritrea. Set against the backdrop of deteriorating political autonomy even prior to the Federation's actual implementation, many League activists intensified their efforts to ensure Arabic's survival as an official language and consistenly challenged the UN envoy to guarantee greater autonomy to Islamic leaders and religious institutions. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]