Sunday 30 August 2020

Islam in Cameroon

The Republic of Cameroon is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west and north; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Although a predominately Christian country, it has a sizable Muslim minority, about 25-30% of the total population, mainly the Sunni Muslims.

Islam came to this part of the Africa in the 17th century with the settlement of the nomadic Muslim Fulani people in the northern parts of what is now Cameroon. In addition to the Fulani, Muslims of the Qadiri and the Tijani orders arrived in the area in large numbers and this culminated in the creation of a populous Muslim community here. Because of this historical background, Islam is more common among the Fulani, Peuhl, and Bamun tribes in the north and the west. Presently, Muslims are dominating in the Northern Cameroon, while the Southern Cameroon is predominately Christians.

The adoption of a rigid secular and unitary policy by the state after its independence in 1961  from the colonial rule caused both the religious and ethnic alienation of the Muslims which comprised various ethnicities. In 1963, the state gave the Muslims permission to establish their first official association (the Islamic Cultural Association of Cameroon). Due to limited financial funds from the state, the Muslim minority obtained funds from abroad, especially from Libya and the Gulf countries, and established its own schools, hospitals and NGOs.  

Today, there are mosques and madrasahs in all large urban centers of Cameroon. Despite continuing at full force, missionary activities have not managed to dissuade Muslims from going to the madrasahs. While trying on the one hand to raise religious awareness among Muslims, Islamic educational institutions also function as places where non-Muslims can get acquainted with Islam. Thanks to these efforts, the number of Muslims in the country is increasing by the day. In the coastal city of Douala, Cameroon's economic capital, local Muslims build a new mosque at least every two years to accommodate with the growing number of believers.
"The expansion of existing mosques and building of new mosques clearly shows that Islam is growing very fast in Douala and Cameroon in general," Sheikh Mohamed Malik Farouk, the chief imam of Douala, told Andolu Agency in an exclusive interview. "Alhamdulillah [thank God] we have now many mosques for Friday prayers in Douala and this is a sign of the growth of Islam," he added.
Most of the Muslims are living a very poor quality life. And many a Muslim countries send humanitarian aid for the sustenance, including food packages. A Cameroonian youngster who changed his name to Othman after converting to Islam said it was the first time he was fasting and performing prayers. "I thank God for guiding me to the path of Islam. I am especially pleased by the hand Turkish Muslims extended to us," he added. However despite poverty, whenever local community to help build a Muslim school or mosque Muslims always donate generously, boasts The chief imam of Douala. 
Friday Mosque in Garoua - Cameroon [Photo: Beautiful Mosques]

The complex social composition has divided the Muslim minority into ethnic groups, which sometimes results in conflict within the minority itself. In addition to ethnic conflicts, there are bitter conflicts between Salafi and Sufi branches in the country. The High Islamic Council in Cameroon acts as an intermediary between the Muslim minority and the state. As the highest religious authority within the Muslim community, the council also acts as the office of the mufti. Cameroon’s Ministry of the Interior tries to keep the Muslim minority under check through these institutions. 

View the video below which shows that despite differences, Sunni and Shia Muslims live peacefully in the country:
Disclaimer: The data for this post has been collected from the references as given below. If any one differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

To know more about life of Muslims in other non Muslim countries, please visit our page: Islam and Life of Muslims in Non Muslim Countries

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo (Cameroon Flag) | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
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