Muslim Relations in the Politics of Nationalism and Secession in Kenya

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Within Kenya’s political scene, racial and ethnic identities play a crucial role in creating division in Muslims’ political engagement. Since independence, the racial and ethnic antagonism among them has weakened a united Muslim’ voice whenever political issues concerning the community arose. As Kenya was preparing for independence, a section of Muslims (Arab Muslims) living at the coast agitated to secede from the rest of Kenya. This demand for secession led to a hostile relationship between the Arab Muslims and other non-Arab Muslim leaders in the country. One effect of this political development is the lasting impact it had on post-independence Muslim politics. The events set a pattern for mistrust between the Arab Muslims and non-Arab Muslims in Kenya. This absence of unity has influenced the way the political elites in Kenya perceive the Muslim community in general. Politicians in Kenya are known to have capitalized on the disunity among Muslims to prevent any united political front from the community. As a result the Muslim community has felt politically marginalized. It is this perceived marginalization which Kenyan Muslims are presently striving to overcome.

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  • 11/12/2018
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