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Ahmed Deedat, Internationalisation, and Transformations of Islamic Polemic

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image of Journal of Religion in Africa

Abstract The South African preacher, Ahmed Deedat, has developed a specific discourse on the nature of relations between Muslims and Other religions through polemic and public debates. This paper describes the mechanisms of the circulation of his thought and activities and its political character. Deedat is a relevant actor in ‘Muslim politics’ who has not been thoroughly studied in the field of Muslim proselytism. His political activities were inscribed first in the long history of munazara (debate, dispute) in India and then in the desire to internationalise his religious ideas in public platforms and media. His ideology has also been reappropriated by other television preachers, especially in Mumbai, through the example of Zakir Naïk. The historical and the political approaches of this paper provide a better understanding of the internationalisation and transformations of Islamic polemics.

Affiliations: 1: University of Lyon, TRIANGLE, UMR 5206 of CNRS, Institut d’études politiques 14 avenue Berthelot, 69363 LYON Cedex 07


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