Shariacracy and Federal Models in the Era of Globalization Nigeria in a Comparative Perspective

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Ali M. Mazrui



Nigeria has Africa’s largest concentration of Muslims and the world’s largest concentration of black Muslims. As the twenty first century began to unfold, more Muslim states in the Nigerian federation adopted some version of Islamic law, although the country as a whole is supposed to be secularist. The Shari`ah in northern Nigeria, which became a passionate protest against the political and economic marginalization of northern Muslims, is also sometimes a form of cultural resistance to western education and the wider forces of globalization. One systemic problem posed by shariacracy as a mode of governance is whether a federal system can accommodate theocracy at the state level and still be a secular state at a federal level. Nigeria has a religious form of asymmetrical federalism that contrasts with the linguistic form of asymmetrical federalism successfully practiced in Switzerland.

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