What is the extent of Islamist radicalisation and terrorism in Tanzania, and what are their drivers?
While the literature agrees that Christian-Muslims relations have generally been harmonious in the country, and that political and economic conflict has not yet crystallised along religious lines, there is growing evidence of Islamist radicalisation. Islamist groups have started to challenge more moderate Islamic associations and to instrumentalise economic and social issues to their advantage. Their religious legitimacy as carriers of a ‘purified’ version of Islam is giving them an increasing influence in the Tanzanian political space.
External elements are also driving this transformation of Islam in Tanzania. One the one hand, Arab states such as Saudi Arabia are supporting Islamist fundamentalism through scholarships and funding to local mosques and Islamic universities. On the other hand, while Islamist-associated attacks have been happening more frequently in Tanzania, proofs of connections with regional and global terrorist networks such as Al Shabaab are also appearing more clearly.
Lucia, E.L. Islamist radicalisation and terrorism in Tanzania (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1233). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2015) 10 pp.