Accepted paper:

Super-diversity: competing for religious space in East Africa


John Chesworth (Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies)

Paper short abstract:

In East Africa established Muslim and Christian groups face competition from new groups. Locally rallies challenge the other faith group using each other's scripture. At the same time transnational religious movements, international organisations and new media compete for religious space.

Paper long abstract:

In East Africa the established Muslim and Christian structures are facing competition from new groups. This has led to inter and intra religious tensions and religious space being contested at different levels. At a local level rallies organised by both Muslims and Christians challenge the other faith group using each other's sacred texts (the Bible and the Quran). At the same time new actors are entering the scene with transnational religious movements competing for space in the religious market place. The space is also challenged by international organisations through large scale campaigns and new media. The paper will examine these different levels of super-diversity which will be exemplified at the local level by an examination of mihadhara (public debates) where Muslims and Christians use each other's scripture to persuade each other of the truth. Transnational groups including Tabligh Jamaat and Assemblies of God will serve to exemplify the new actors challenging the established religious structures. It will also look at the approaches used by selected international groups including Reinhard Bonnke and Christ for All Nations (CfAN) and Zakir Naik and Peace TV.

panel G20
Trust in super-diversity