September 25, 2009

The Role of Islam in Tanzania's Liberation Struggle

What's often left out of the Nyerere-centric narrative of Tanzanian nationalism is the contributions of Muslim townsmen.

Back during my first trip to Tanzania in 2006, I went with a friend to the Maktaba ya Taifa in Dar-es-Salaam and happenned across Mohamed Said's book on Abdulwahid Sykes. It came as a revelation to me that Sykes and other Muslim leaders in Dar had been the impetus and the organizational core of the Tanganyikan African Association, the organization which would eventually become TANU.

The book is a chronicle of that struggle, and Mohamed Said is anxious not to allow his readers to forget this 'underground' history.

Dr. John Iliffe has offered his review of Said's book. He critiques its somewhat polemical tone and addresses a personal accusation Said made against him. However I believe despite the occasional polemic, Said's work brings to light some important aspects of Tanzanian history that deserve a wider audience. We owe Bwana Mohamed Said a debt for bringing this forgotten history to light. Please visit the following links for more of his work:

Islam's Role in Tanzania's Freedom Struggle

Interview with Mohamed Said

The Question of Muslim Stagnation in Education

Islam and Politics in Tanzania


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