Islam in Botswana

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Islam is a minority religion in Botswana, where most people follow Christianity and indigenous beliefs. Islam came to the country through Muslim immigrants from South Asia, who settled in the area during the British colonial rule. According to the 2001 census, there are around 5,000 Muslims in Botswana,[1] which is less than 1 percent of the population. The relations between the different religious groups remain peaceful and friendly despite rising inter-religious tensions in the other parts of Africa.


Indian Muslims were the first Islamic populations in Botswana when they arrived around the 1890s. These Indian Muslims were limited to urban areas by the colonial authorities. Within some brief time, Muslims established Islamc centers throughout one urban center to another as cities and Muslim populations increased.[2]

Malawian Muslims began to appear around the 1950s in Francistown. They arrived mainly for job opportunities like mining.[2]

There were very few conversions to Islam until the 1970s. Shaykh Ali Mustapha of Guyana has since the 1970s proselytized in Botswana where missions are concentrated in townships and prisons.[2]

Today, Gaborone is considered the heart of Botswanian Islam with a modernized mosque being built in 1982.[2]

See Also[edit]


  1. ^ "Botswana. International Religious Freedom Report 2007". U.S. Department of State. 14 September 2007. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
  2. ^ a b c d Tayob, Abdulkader (1999). "Southern Africa". In Westerlund, David; Svanberg, Ingvar (eds.). Islam Outside the Arab World. London: Routledge. p. 113. ISBN 0-7007-1124-4.