Beyond Religious Tolerance

Beyond Religious Tolerance

Muslim, Christian & Traditionalist Encounters in an African Town

Edited by Insa Nolte, Olukoya Ogen, Rebecca Jones


James Currey



A counterbalance to the predominant study of Islam's role in social and political struggles, this book examines life in Ede, south-west Nigeria, offering important analyses of religious co-existence.

Since the end of the Cold War, and especially since 9/11, religion has become an increasingly important factor of personal and group identification. Based on an African case study, this book calls for new ways of thinking about diversity that go "beyond religious tolerance". Focusing on the predominantly Muslim Yoruba town of Ede, the authors challenge the assumption that religious difference automatically leads to conflict: in south-west Nigeria, Muslims, Christians and traditionalists have co-existed largely peacefully since the early twentieth century. In some contexts, Ede's citizens emphasise the importance and significance of religious difference, and the need for tolerance. But elsewhere they refer to religious boundaries in passing, or even celebrate and transcend religious divisions.
Drawing on detailed ethnographic and historical research, survey work, oral histories and poetry by UK- and Nigeria- based researchers, the book examines how Ede's citizens experience religious difference in their everyday lives. It examines the town's royal history and relationship with the deity Sàngó, its old Islamic compounds and its Christian institutions, as well as marriage and family life across religious boundaries, to illustrate the multiplicity of religious practices in the life of the town and its citizens and to suggest an alternative approach to religious difference.

Insa Nolte is Reader in African Studies at the University of Birmingham, and Visiting Research Professor at Osun State University, Osogbo. She is President of the African Studies Association of the UK (2016-18) and Principal Investigator of the ERC project "Knowing Each Other: Everyday Religious Encounters, Social Identities and Tolerance in Southwest Nigeria". Olukoya Ogen is Provost of Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo; Professor of History at Osun State University, Osogbo; and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham. He is the Nigerian coordinator of the "Knowing Each Other" project. Rebecca Jones is Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the "Knowing Each Other" project. Her book, A Cultural History of Nigerian Travel Writing, will be published by James Currey in 2017.

Nigeria: Adeyemi College Academic Press (paperback)


January 2017
15 black and white, 2 line illustrations
336 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Religion in Transforming Africa
ISBN: 9781847011534
Format: Hardback
James Currey
BISAC REL084000, POL016000, SOC008000
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Table of Contents

Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslims, Christians and Traditionalists in a Yoruba Town - Insa Nolte and Ogen Olukoya
Kingship and Religion: An Introduction to the History of Ede - Siyan Oyeweso
Ambivalence and Transgression in the Practice of Sàngó - Aderemi Suleiman Ajala and Insa Nolte
Sàngó's Thunder: Poetic Challenges to Islam and Christianity - George Olusola Abijade
Compound Life and Religious Control in Ede's Muslim Community - Amusa Saheed Balogun
Challenges and Affirmations of Islamic Practice: The Tablighi Jamaat - Adeyemi Balogun
The Baptist Church in Ede: Christian Struggles over Education and Land - Ogen Olukoya and Amusa Saheed Balogun
Freedom and Control: Islam and Christianity at the Federal Polytechnic - Akin Iwilade and Oladipo Fadayomi
Religious Accommodation in Two Generations of the Adeleke Family - Ibikunle Tijani
Marrying Out: Gender and Religious Mediation in Interfaith Marriages - Insa Nolte and Tosin Akinjobe-Babatunde
Everyday Inter-Religious Encounters and Attitudes - Rebecca Jones and Insa Nolte
Outlook: Religious Difference, the Yoruba and Beyond - Insa Nolte and Ogen Olukoya
Appendix 1: Ede Anthem
Appendix 2: Songs of Ede
Appendix 3: Oríkì of the Tìmì of Ede, present and past

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