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Vol 43 No 8

Published 19th April 2002


Tanzania

Wanaharakati and kuffar

Slowly and with some success, Muslim extremists are trying to seize control of Dar es Salaam region's 487 mosques. Islamists claim to have taken over more than 30 of the region's mosques and say their target is at least 200. These Islamists call themselves 'wanaharakati', a Kiswahili word for activists, and claim to be waging a holy war against the infidel (kaffir). They call the government 'infidel' and the non-activist (often elected) Muslim clerics 'puppets'; the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi is for infidels. Tanzanian Muslims, who constitute at least half of the population, have long complained of official neglect and have also suffered from their self-exclusion from schools often run with Christian missionary support. Islamists are exploiting old grievances.

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