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date: 05 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses Muslim politics in the context of wider debates about political inclusion and exclusion in Kenya. It submits that a common narrative of exclusion and injustice amongst Kenya’s minority Muslim population exists, but that an imagined political community of Muslims has failed to emerge. In part, this is due to ethnic, racial, class, and doctrinal differences. It is also due to different understandings of what needs to be done to address a commonly felt sense of marginalization, with two broad narratives emerging since the early 1990s. The first narrative encourages Muslim participation in formal political processes. The second narrative discourages such involvement and seeks a solution in transnational efforts to overthrow the international system. It is through such differences, debates, and contestations that ongoing, but largely unsuccessful, struggles to create an imagined political community of Muslims, and the more recent articulation of an Islamist ideology in Kenya’s public discourse, should be understood.

Keywords: Kenya Muslims, Muslim politics, Islamic reform, religion, politics

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