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Niger Muslim Population Article




1. Niger embraces Islam, but the lay state holds solid  
[By Reuters]
Fundamentalist Islam thrives alongside poverty as experience from Iran and Algeria to Egypt and Afghanistan has shown.

``Increased poverty does give wings to the Moslem extremist movement. But they are small wings, they won't get far,'' a government official said.

His country is among the poorest in the world, and a 1988 population census showed that 98.7 percent of Niger's then 6.5 million people were Moslem.

The population has since risen to nine million while the economy has shrunk.


2. International Religious Freedom Report  
The country has an area of 490,000 square miles, and its population is approximately 13.95 million. Islam was the dominant religion and was practiced by more than 90 percent of the population. Approximately 95 percent of the Muslim population was Sunni, while the remaining 5 percent was Shi'a. There were also small communities of Christians and Baha'is. Christians, both Roman Catholics and Protestants, accounted for less than 5 percent of the population but were present particularly in the regions of Maradi, Dogondoutchi, Niamey, and other urban centers with expatriate populations. Christianity was the religion of French colonial institutions, and its followers included many local believers from the educated, the elite, and colonial families, as well as African immigrants from neighboring coastal countries, particularly Benin, Togo, and Ghana. Numbering only a few thousand, the Baha'i were located primarily in Niamey and in communities on the west side of the Niger River, bordering Burkina Faso. A small percentage of the population practiced traditional indigenous religions. There was no information available regarding the number of atheists.


A library photo of Muslims outside a mosque in Niger.

3.  Niger to Integrate Islamic Schools Into State Education  [By IslamOnline(IOL)]
The Islamic Bank of Development (IBD) has pledged $84 million to assist the overwhelmingly Muslim northwestern African country of Niger to integrate more than a half-million students enrolled at Islamic schools into the national education system.

"Two systems have developed since colonization and independence, completely separate from one another: the formal French school and the informal Qur’anic schools," Khalil Enahaoui, regional coordinator for the IBD program, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported on Saturday, July 16.

"Our goal is to bring these two together by emphasizing bilingual, Franco-Arabic teaching."

With more than 50,000 locations, Islamic schools have attracted thousands of students across Niger.


4.Efforts being made to counter missionary zeal in Africa [By International Islamic News Agency(IINA)] 
Sheikh Ibrahim Shuaib, who is president of the Islamic Unity and Solidarity Foundation in Niger, has said that his is a Muslim country, and was in ancient times pars of the Muslim empires of Barnu and Kanim. He said Islam dawned on Niger in the year 600 AH, and has grown from strength to strength, to the extent that the majority are now Muslims, and they keenly follow the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, and also keen on spreading the Arabic language. He said that there are three challenges facing Muslim in Africa: ignorance, poverty, and Christian missionary activity, which, he said, takes advantage of the people’s poverty and their ignorance of their own faith in enticing them to convert to the Christian faith. He added that missionary activity has began to bear fruit, simply because the majority of the people are poor and they lack proper knowledge of their faith. He said there are 10,000,000 people in Niger, of whom 96 percent are Muslim, and called upon Islamic organizations to intensify their efforts and give support to the brethren in Africa.