South Africa Table of Contents

South Africa's small Muslim community of about 400,000 is gaining new members, especially among black South Africans, in the 1990s. The majority of Muslims are of Indian descent, however, and a small minority are Pakistanis or people of mixed race. Most live in or near Cape Town, Durban, or Johannesburg. The Africa Muslim Party won 47,690 votes, less than 1 percent of the total vote, in the April 1994 nationwide elections.

Most South African Muslims are members of the Sunni branch of Islam, although a small Shia sect is becoming more vocal in the 1990s. The Muslim Youth Movement, the Muslim Student Association, and several other Islamic organizations have small branches in South African universities. Diplomats and other visitors from Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait have contributed to the building of mosques and other efforts to promote Islam. The desire to proselytize in the region was an important topic of discussion at the first southern African conference on Islam, which was held in Cape Town in April 1995.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress