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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Baraka' Without Borders: Integrating Communities in the City of Saints
Author:Gibb, Camilla C.T.
Year:1999
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Volume:29
Issue:1
Pages:88-108
Language:English
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:Islam
cults
ethnic relations
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1581788
Abstract:In Harar (Ethiopia), local Islamic orthodoxy, which revolves around a corpus of saints enshrined within and just beyond the city walls, offers a framework through which heterogeneous influences can be absorbed and made meaningful in such a way that the purity and endogamy of the people who identify themselves as the city's original inhabitants - the 'GŻeusu', 'people of the city' - is apparently sustained. The author argues that the conceptual boundaries which exist around saints' shrines are not restrictive or ethnically exclusive. While the saint and the shrine may serve as key points for the common identification of members of a single ethnic group, they are fluid and accommodating in ways which facilitate not only communication within groups, but across generations, and between groups. Where dialogue within opposed factions of the 'GŻe usu' community has become stilted and antagonistic, broader conversation and individual expression, without pressure to identify politically, is possible within the arena of the saints. Notes, ref.
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