Muslim Reformist Networks in the City of Algiers, 1931–1940

The Contact Society in Colonial Algeria
By Afaf Zekkour

The Association of Algerian Muslim ‘Ulamā (AUMA in French) was created in 1931 after many years of exchanges between Arab-speaking Muslim intellectuals. Rather than engaging in mass politics, it sought to promote its conception of an Arab and Islamic Algerian identity through a network of mosques, schools, clubs and charitable organisations. This network was difficult to pin down as it constantly underwent change. In the 1930s, its location moved from the Kasbah to the European area of Belcourt. While it once recruited from the old Muslim establishment, it increasingly drew on new social classes for its membership. Finally in terms of politics, its religious and cultural reformism gradually gave way to a radical nationalist agenda.

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