In This Review

Muslim Civic Cultures and Conflict Resolution: The Challenge of Democratic Federalism in Nigeria
Muslim Civic Cultures and Conflict Resolution: The Challenge of Democratic Federalism in Nigeria
By John N. Paden
Brookings Institution Press, 2006, 303 pp.

Paden situates his analysis of contemporary Nigeria in the context of the traditional Islamic culture of the northern part of the country. Roughly half of Nigeria's population is Muslim, and Paden is right to argue that Western observers have not always appreciated the role of Islam there. The book tends to assert rather than demonstrate the relevance of traditional political culture in the Sokoto caliphate in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to contemporary problems of Nigerian federalism, but it nonetheless offers much useful information on the emergence of sharia in 12 northern states in the late 1990s, the relationship between traditional authorities, religious leaders and the modern Nigerian state, and the circumstances under which Nigerian federalism could accommodate religious and ethnic pluralism. One often underappreciated factor emphasized by Paden is the diversity within Islamic practices and doctrines in Nigeria, due to both theological schisms within Islam and regional differences.