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To manipulate Islamic law and use it for the purpose of “development,” ICI members declared it a customary law, as Chapter 5 unveils. The most famous amalgam of Islamic law and customary law was the adat law collected by ICI members in the Dutch Indies. Inspired by the adat law collection, ICI members created new legal codes for Muslim Africa, making the law more compliant to European necessities. Legal codes strategically combined elements from the four legal schools of Islam, customary law, and European law. In Africa, codifications of Muslim law served as an instrument to manipulate property law. One purpose was to expropriate habous land, traditionally inalienable land of Islamic endowments, which was often fertile and highly-prized. Hence, the misuse of Islamic law became a central tool for the ICI’s transcolonial governmentality. The codification projects show how ICI experts used their international networks to find the best strategy for reworking Islamic law in favor of colonialism. Colonial administrations, ICI experts recommened, should not fear Pan-Islamic movements, but should instead capitalize on cooperation with Muslims both inside and outside their territory. The expropriation of habous became so widespread that the Paris Peace Conference debated it in 1919.
In Chapter 8, we see how ICI members promoted the idea of a colonial welfare state at a low cost, based on mutuality and self-help. While craft guilds provided for a welfare system in urban regions, agricultural cooperatives assumed this task in more rural colonies. In the 1930s, a colonial cooperative movement emerged that stretched from Senegal to Madagascar and from India to Italy. Cooperatives were mutual loan, production, and marketing societies that collectively provided help to members in need. These cooperatives became the central element of the ICI’s development scheme. Their grassroots character was a governmental alternative to the huge investment programs of the 1930s to develop the colonies. However, the chapter also shows how colonial administrations used cooperatives to perpetuate enforced labor, wage dumping, collective punishment, additional taxation, and expropriation of land. Nevertheless, development agencies and international organizations continued to regard cooperatives as a crucial tool for educating Africans about collective work in the 1950s and 1960s. The ICI’s development schemes inspired the work of the ILO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, UNESCO, and the Economic Commission for Africa of the UN.
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