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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Autocratic legacies and state management of Islamic activism in Niger
Author:Elischer, SebastianISNI
Year:2015
Periodical:African affairs: the journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Volume:114
Issue:457
Pages:577-597
Language:English
Geographic term:Niger
Subjects:religious policy
Islamic movements
Link:http://afraf.oxfordjournals.org/content/114/457/577.abstract
Abstract:In contrast to similar organizations in its neighbouring countries, Niger's domestic Salafi associations have remained peaceful and apolitical. Drawing on historical institutionalist scholarship and on recent conceptualizations of the state as a religious actor, this article examines how the Nigerien state has tried to regulate religious practices since Seyni Kountché's military coup in 1974. It argues that the institutional regulation of religious practices is one important variable that accounts for Niger's deviant trajectory. During Niger's autocratic period (1974-91), the government established the Association islamique du Niger (AIN) as the sole legal authority regulating access to Niger's Friday prayer mosques. Committed to peaceful and apolitical interpretations of the Koran, the AIN confined access to Niger's religious sphere to local clerics and Sufi brotherhoods. After the breakdown of autocratic rule in 1991, the AIN served as a religious advisory body. Salafi associations could assemble freely but had to abide by certain criteria. Confronted with the prospect of Islamic violence in 2000, the Nigerien state intervened in Niger's religious sphere in several ways. Among other initiatives, the government began to resurrect a more rigorous system of religious supervision in order to monitor religious practices on an ongoing basis. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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