Faith in the Balance
October 28, 2019Across deeply diverse religious landscapes, states in Africa are seeking the right tools to manage religious affairs. Governments throughout the continent employ religious slogans, symbols, and doctrine to advance their political interests and to undermine religiously inspired sources of violence. Different contexts and different state capacities produce different outcomes.
Faith in the Balance analyzes the distinct ways that the governments of Morocco, Tunisia, Nigeria, Kenya, and Burkina Faso attempt to manage religious affairs. The case studies aim to identify the objectives and consequences of state religious policies, as well as the constraints that each government faces when exerting control over the religious realm.
States that intervene too frequently in the religious realm risk undermining religious authorities who are critical allies; too little regulation can create a vacuum that is exploited by violent actors. Finding the right balance is an urgent task because how states manage and intervene in religious affairs has far-reaching consequences for politics, security, and social stability in Africa.
We are grateful to the Henry Luce Foundation for its generous support of this study.