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Malawi's Muslim Communities in their Local and Global Context

by David Bone


The way in which Malawi’s Muslim communities have developed has been the result of people, making choices, both individually and collectively. They made these choices under the influence of, and within the constraints of, ideas, pressures and events from within Malawi and from the wider world, from within the realm of Islam and from outside it. For long periods of their history Malawi’s Muslim communities have been marginalized, not only from the rest of the Islamic world, but also from many aspects of social, economic and political life within Malawi. Comparatively recently, the range of choices open to Malawi’s Muslims has been much broadened by a number of events, trends and developments from inside Malawi and without.

The paper has three main aims. Firstly, to outline and explain the origins, establishment and development of Malawi’s indigenous Muslim communities, and their distinctive characteristics. Secondly, to describe and account for the Islamic revival that challenged and, to some degree, transformed them. Thirdly, to describe and analyse how, in the present era, local and global factors are circumscribing and influencing the status, the actions, the aspirations and the vision of different individuals and sections of the Muslim communities, particularly as they relate to the state and to other groupings within Malawi.


Malawi's Muslim Communities in their Local and Global Context


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