(C18) "Green Danger"? Colonial Anti-Islam and its Integrative Consequences for the German Society

Protestantism, Catholicism, and Islam in Colonial Africa, Germany and Europe, 1880-2000

At the end of the 19th century Europe's “Culture Wars” clearly lost significance. The conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, integralists and liberals, the representatives of the church and the state, faded out into a kind of armistice. In some of the overseas territories, however, the situation was rather different, especially in Africa. Here, the interdenominational rivalry had become one of the most important driving forces for the Protestant and the Catholic mission. However, in the early 20th century, this interdenominational competition lost priority. More and more both denominations became aware of a new rival: Islam, which spread in Asia and in Africa. Protestant mission scientists began to regard Islam as “the only faith which deserves to be called a rival to Christianity for the supremacy of the world”. Especially East Africa and Indonesia were regarded as a centre of Muslim expansion.

This new kind of rivalry brings up several questions:

  1. How did the missiologists, the missionaries and the Christian politicians deal with this rivalry? Which arguments with which implications did they use? And is it appropriate to consider them as a part of an anti-Islamic discourse being based on transnational networks? If so, did they survive the First World War? What might have been the consequences of the anti-Islamic discourse for the following 20th century?
  2. Were there differences between German Catholics and Protestants, German and French, British or Dutch missiologists? And did the interreligious rivalry have an impact on interdenominational relations?