n Africa Insight - Salafis and the politics of nationalism among migrant Muslims in Ghana

Volume 45, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


This article analyses a dimension of nationalism among migrant Muslims who were once victims of successive post-colonial nationalist policies. By focusing on the life trajectory of Umar Ibrahim, a graduate from Saudi Arabia and a central figure in the Islamic Research and Reformation Centre (IRRC), this paper examines how he became a victim of ethno-nationalism among Muslims of foreign provenance in Ghana. Beyond the dichotomy of indigenes versus migrants in scholarly analyses, this paper demonstrates the fluidity and malleability of nationalism in the context of Muslims of migrant descent who struggled to re-define their opponents' citizenship. Analysing the various categories of nationalism that have filtered into the politics of Muslim leadership, the article unpacks the ambiguities and malleability at the core of the IRRC's power struggles. Drawing on archival data and in-depth interviews, the article suggests that Umar Ibrahim succeeded in his Salafi agenda because of the sympathy he had from the youth wing who were against the nationalist sentiments of the dismissed executives.

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