Islamist Extremism in East Africa

ACSS islamist extremism

This Africa Center for Strategic Studies security brief by Abdisaid M. Ali studies the growth of Salafist ideology in East Africa and the challenges it poses to long established norms of tolerance and interfaith cooperation in the region. The brief argues that this is the outcome of a combination of external and internal factors. On the one hand, the decade-long efforts to promote ultraconservative interpretations of Islam by different Gulf states have fostered more exclusive and polarizing religious relations in the region and resulted in an increase in violence. On the other hand, internal socioeconomic differences and repressive, heavy-handed measures by the police to fight extremism have likely reinforced the narratives and appeal of religious extremism. Redressing these challenges will require the rebuilding of tolerance and solidarity domestically along with a check on the external influence of extremist ideology.

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