In This Review

Islam and Politics in Kenya
Islam and Politics in Kenya
By Arye Oded
Lynne Rienner, 2000, 246 pp.

One of Israel's best-informed Africanists surveys the background to the antigovernment riots that erupted in the early 1990s among Kenyan Muslims, who make up roughly one-fifth of the country's population. Despite long-standing divisions based on race, leadership rivalries, and doctrinal issues, most Kenyan Muslims share a well-founded conviction that the Christian-dominated government discriminates against them. Economic hardship, the introduction of a multiparty system, the influence of militant Islamic groups outside Kenya, and the emergence of the rabble-rousing Shaikh Khalid Balala in the coastal city of Mombasa all converged between 1992 and 1994 to incite violent demonstrations against the regime of Daniel arap Moi. But Oded believes that if Kenya's government were more responsive to Muslim grievances, the country's potential for violent religious extremism would be low, since most Kenyan Muslims are moderate, tolerant, and pragmatic. An expert exploration of the myriad ramifications of the political views and minority status of Kenya's Muslim population.