Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

Islam and Christianity in the Horn of Africa: Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan

Haggai Erlich
Islam and Christianity in the Horn of Africa: Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan
ISBN: 978-1-58826-713-9
ISBN: 978-1-58826-987-4
2010/225 pages/LC: 2009046170
"An excellent resource for any scholar not only of Ethiopian history and politics, but also of Sudanese affairs past and present."—Marcus Jaeger, Sudan Studies Association Bulletin

"A remarkable contribution to understanding politics and religion in an important world region.... This special study would be read with benefit by specialists and non-specialists alike."—John Voll, Journal of Islamic Studies

"Deftly weaves together themes of conflict, interaction, and accommodation of the peoples of the Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia."—Choice

"Essential and fascinating reading.... Erlich fills a major gap in the literature by exploring the regional dynamics of Muslim-Christian relations in modern northeast Africa."—James De Lorenzi, John Jay College, City University of New York

"The best survey yet of the contemporary history of the Horn of Africa, focusing on both the Islamic and the Christian perspectives."—Peter Garretson, Florida State University


Can Christianity and Islam coexist? Or are Muslims and Christians destined to delegitimize and even demonize each other? Tracing the modern history of the region where the two religions first met, and where they are engaged now in active confrontation, Haggai Erlich finds legacies of both tolerance and militancy.

Erlich's analysis of political, military, and diplomatic developments in the Horn of Africa since the late nineteenth century is combined with an exploration of the ways in which religious formulations of the nearby "other" influenced policymaking and were also reshaped by it. His work demonstrates in a compelling way how initial Islamic and Christian concepts remain directly relevant in the region today.


Haggai Erlich is professor emeritus of Middle East and African history at Tel Aviv University.


  • Muslims and Christians in the Horn of Africa: Interactions Across the Centuries.
  • From Disastrous Confrontation to Pragmatic Friendship: Ethiopia and Sudan, 1884-1898.
  • Radicalism, War, and Pragmatism: Ethiopia and the Somalis, 1899-1920.
  • Africanism, Arabism, and Marxism: Ethiopia and Sudan, 1930-1991.
  • The Return of Political Islam: Ethiopia and Sudan, 1991-2009.
  • Nationalism and Conflict: Ethiopia and Somalia, 1943-1991.
  • Religion Returns to the Forefront: Ethiopia and Somalia, 1991-2009.
  • Religion and Politics in the Horn: Options and Choices.