n Journal for Islamic Studies - Ahmed Deedat and Muslim-Christian Relations at the Cape, c. 1960-1980

Volume 29, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0257-7062



This paper establishes the historical context of Muslim-Christian relations at the Cape, the role played by Ahmed Deedat in this relationship, and the public reaction to his role. It focuses in particular on his reaction to the polemics of various churches against Islam and the divisions among Muslims regarding Christian-Muslim relations. Opposition to Deedat among Muslims underscored deeper discursive differences between traditional >ulamŒ< and those that we may term 'modernist', even if in time they proved to be more traditional. Deedat's influence was at its height between approximately 1960 and 1980. Thereafter, it began to decline, partly due to the emergence of new organisations and leaders in the Cape, who were involved in the wider anti-apartheid movement, due also to the fact that Deedat's own gaze was shifting outwards towards the international Muslim world. If Deedat's intention was to restore the confidence of rank-and-file Muslims, he succeeded for a period, but support for the very public 'Deedat-style' activities eventually declined.

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