A Muslim scholar with extensive experience in Africa, T. Abdou Maliqalim Simone was recruited by the Islamic fundamentalist Shari'a Movement in Sudan to act as consultant for its project to unite Muslims and non-Muslims in Khartoum's shanty towns. Based on his interviews with hundreds of individuals during this time, plus extensive historical and archival research, "In Whose Image?" is an examination of the use of Islam as a tool for political transformation. Drawing a detailed portrait of political fundamentalism during the 1985-89 period of democratic rule in the Sudan, Simone shows how the Shari'a Movement attempted to shape a viable social order by linking religious integrity and economic development, where religious practice was to dominate all aspects of society and individuals' daily lives. However, because Sudanese society is remarkably diverse ethnically and religiously, this often led to conflict, fragmentation and violence in the name of Islam.
Simone's own Islamic background leads him to deplore the violence and the devastating psychological, economic and cultural consequences of one form of Islamic radicalism, while holding to the hope that a viable form of this inherently political religion can in fact be applied. As a counterpoint, he ends with a discussion of South Africa's Call of Islam, which seeks political unity through a more tolerant interpretation of Islam. As an introduction to religious discourse in Africa, this book should be of interest to students and scholars of African Studies, Religious Studies, Anthropology and Political Science.