Anecdotal Evidence Suggests Islam Growing in Sub-Saharan Africa

November 14, 2004

Source: Yahoo! News

Wire Service: Reuters

On November 14, 2004 Reuters reported, "Before 1994, Muslims comprised between 1 percent and 2 percent of the overwhelmingly Catholic population in Rwanda. Today that figure is 5 percent, census returns show. Muslim leaders say the number of mosques has risen to 570 from 220. The shift is prompting new interest in Islam's long, uneven spread elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, where Christianity normally predominates and indigenous faiths are in retreat. Those who gauge political risk are on alert for any sign of strain in the usually equable relations between Christians and Muslims south of the Sahara, and for any evidence of the arrival of radical Islamic movements from the Middle East. While anecdotal evidence suggests a growth in the proportion of sub-Saharan Africans embracing Islam, as well as 'born again' forms of Protestant Christianity, data is scarce. Hassan Mwakimako, who teaches religious studies at Nairobi University, says census surveys either do not track religious affiliation, or if they do, tend not to publish it."