Islam and Race


Pierre Jean Daniel André was a French military officer who studied Oriental languages in Paris before serving with the French Colonial Infantry in a number of parts of the French Empire, including Algeria and Morocco, and at posts along the African and Arabian coasts of the Indian Ocean. In 1919‒20 André was governor of the sanjak (administrative district) of Djebel-i-Bereket in Cilicia, a region of southeastern Turkey that had been placed under French administration following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I. Based on his experiences in Turkey, in 1921 André published, under the pseudonym Pierre André Redan, La Cilicie et le problème ottoman (Cilicia and the Ottoman problem). The book presented here, L'Islam et les races (Islam and race), was published the following year under André’s own name. It is an ambitious, two-volume work, in which André propounds his particular theory about the world of Islam. In volume one, he describes the main doctrines and institutions of Islam and traces its origins in Arabia, its expansion beyond the Arabian Peninsula to North Africa and the Middle East, and its conquest of and spread to the region that André characterizes as Turco-Mongolian. André’s thesis is that Islam can be best understood in terms of a tree metaphor: as an Arab trunk onto which has been grafted a vast Turco-Mongolian growth. Volume two describes the principal schisms and sects found within Islam and the local forms that the faith takes in Egypt and Tripolitania (present-day Libya); elsewhere in North Africa; in sub-Saharan Africa; in the sultanates along the coast of the Indian Ocean; in the Far East; in Russia and the Caucasus; in India; in Southeast Asia (Indonesia); and in Persia, Afghanistan, and Baluchistan. At the beginning of volume one is a table giving the total estimated Muslim population of the world in 1917—close to 247 million—and its geographical distribution.

Last updated: August 31, 2016