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Tanzania has potential for Islamist radicals

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by nngu007, May 24, 2011.

  1. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

    May 24, 2011
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
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    Monday, May 23, 2011

    at 1:02 AM Posted by Political Risk Review

    Harvey Glickman says at the Foreign Policy Research Institute that Tanzania's Islamic revival could turn to radicalism given social shortcomings and weak institutions:

    Overall, Tanzania remains vulnerable to radical Islamists. Tanzania has a low capacity government, in a large territorial expanse (the size of France and Germany combined). Thirty six percent of the population is below the poverty line. With rudimentary border controls, a wide open coastline and troubled neighbors, such as Somalia, Tanzania’s large coastal trade and much smuggling provide excellent logistical cover for extremists. (The neighboring countries of Kenya and Uganda have each suffered violent jihadi attacks.) Small arms and other weapons are readily available on the black market in East Africa. The police are unable, and sometimes unwilling, to provide even the most basic public safety services, as major crimes often go unsolved. The Tanzanian National Security Service is more capable than the police force, but it is better suited to spying on political opponents, since that has been their training. These security weaknesses make Tanzania a relatively soft target. Currently, the Muslim population, taken as a whole, has not succumbed to extremist rhetoric. The small and weak Islamists, and radical elements within them, concentrate on bringing their co-religionists in Tanzania more in line with fundamentalist Islamic practices. Tanzania faces the dilemma of post-authoritarian states in Africa: a tropism toward official blandishments or outright control of associations once prohibited under one party rule. Ironically, the more moderate groups, who offer no structural challenge to the system, are more likely to be candidates for co-optation. Radicals, even at the level of ideas, are forced to work outside the system. Thus, the government risks pushing Islamist believers in more radical directions by sheer clumsiness — such as election rigging in Zanzibar .... The way is open for simplistic and politicized interpretations to capitalize on local grievances, such as the integrity of the federation of the mainland and Zanzibar, and interpret that as a Muslim-Christian matter or a matter of the relative weight of Zanzibari opinion within the overall politics of the union.
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