Islam as a Minority Religion in Kenya
From earliest times, Muslims were a visible presence along the Indian Ocean of East Africa, coming from different locations in the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, and elsewhere. Islam moved inland in Kenya and surrounding countries during the nineteenth century, largely brought by traders. Kenyan Islam is divided along structural, ethnic, personality, geographical, and doctrinal lines, resulting in a divided community, accounting for perhaps 30% of the population. Despite the influence of Iran and Libya, Kenya has successfully contained radical Islam, especially following the bombing of the American Embassy in Nairobi, but Islamic discontent is unabated since the root causes of societal discontent remain unresolved. The short‐lived effort by Shaikh Khalid Balala proved more of an irritant than a threat to the government, which continues to dole out bits of patronage to coastal and Somali Muslims in the country's northeast.
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