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British colonial administration, development of Islam and lslamic education in a non-Muslim society: The Benin division (Nigeria) experience 1897-1960.

U Usuanlele


British policy towards religion in colonial Africa was influenced by its intrinsic value to the maintenance of a very strong administration over the continent and achieving the socio-economic objectives Britain set itself at the beginning of its colonization. The Benin Kingdom had been largely untouched by any world religion before the British conquered the Kingdom in 1897 and this conquest facilitated the penetration of Christianity and Islam therein. The failure of Christian missionaries to provide educational services compelled the government to establish a government school in 1901 for the production of its requisite personnel. The services provided by the Government School and the reliance on indigenous institutions under the indirect rule system of administration made missionaries and their education superfluous to the operation of the colonial government. Nevertheless, both Christians and Muslims introduced their own educational services. Though Islamic education was of less value to the colonial Administration and Muslims were an insignificant minority in Benin society, a policy had to be adopted towards the emergent Muslim population. This paper examines  colonial state policy towards Muslims and its impact on Islamic education in the non-Muslim society of Benin.

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print ISSN: 2343-6530