by MBAYE LO and ANDI FRKOVICH for JOURNAL OF RELIGION AND POPULAR CULTURE (25:3 FALL 2013 ISSUE): 

Abstract: The Arab Spring has been widely branded as a social media revolution. Evidence has shown that many Arab citizens consider Al Jazeera one of the most popular and credible Arab news networks, making it important to explore the manner and the extent to which this media network may have impacted the Revolution. One way to do so is by examining the meaning, configuration, and providers of the Al Jazeera network’s news content.

This exploration seems to raise important questions: what are the contents of Al Jazeera’s Arabic politico-religious articles? Are political writers revolutionaries in their views? Do they identify with the Arab mainstream or a political/ideological group, or do they court the interests of Arab states? To what extent are writers affected by their country of origin, their ideological affiliations, or the country in which Al Jazeera is based—Qatar?

This article attempts to answer these questions by analyzing the fluidity and the complexities of a sample of articles collected from Al Jazeera’s Arabic political columns between 30 January and 31 August 2011. In doing so, this article contributes to a timely discussion of social media, religion, and authority in the Arab world by presenting a case study of the political content of one of the Arab world’s leading media outlets. Continue reading

by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary and TIRN, on OCTOBER 14, 2013: 

islam_africa2More than a dozen scholars and university administrators from Africa and the U.S. will gather at Duke University this week for a workshop on “Islamic Institutions of Higher Learning in Africa: Their History, Mission and Role in Regional Development.”

The group — which includes scholars and administrators from Islamic institutions in Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Union of the Comoros — will also get a chance to tour campus, give and attend a departmental talks, meet with Duke officials and view the Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape and Islamic Art exhibit at the Nasher Museum of Art.

During a closed workshop (Oct. 18-19), they will explore the development and administration of Islamic institutions of higher learning in sub-Saharan Africa and their intellectual, economic and cultural impact in this region.

Members of the Duke and local community are invited to attend the keynote speech by University of Michigan assistant professor of history Rudolph (Butch) Ware. The speech, “The Walking Qur’an: Islamic Education, Embodied Knowledge and History in West Africa,” is open to the public, and will be taped and available later to view on iTunes University. (Ware’s book of the same title will be released in June 2014 by UNC Press) Continue reading

by MBAYE LO for MONDOWEISS on FEBRUARY 14, 2013: 

The continuing violence in Mali highlights one of the vital challenges facing humanity: the perpetual wars over property acquisition, corporation creeds—the Curse of Jefferson and its radical adversaries from the religious extremists. Both are a clear hindrance to the human potential to break away from perpetual war, and live up to the goodness in all humanity—the spirit of Timbuktu. Challenging the ethical roots of these institutionalized creeds and religious violence is crucial if the current culture of human ‘expendability’ is to be reversed, and the art of life and peace is to be cherished and cultivated. Continue reading

by MBAYE LO for ISLAMiCommentary and TIRN on NOVEMBER 14, 2012:

“One side argues from a perspective of freedom and mercy, as is the case with the academics, while the militants argue from the perspective of what they consider justice. The extreme diligence in pursuit of each set of values would violate the entirety of the other.” — Mbaye Lo

The response of academics and Muslims religious groups to the blowback generated by the film the “Innocence of Muslims” this past September — in the form of violent protests across the Muslim world — is the latest example of a clear disconnect in our attempts to address the problem of Islamic militancy, and warrants a clear retrospective analysis.

Most liberal academics and American Muslim religious groups tend to be apologetic about the behavior of citizens-turned-militants, rather than constructively engaging the militants’ arguments. Continue reading

 

Mbaye Lo, Assistant Professor of the Practice, Duke University Dept. Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, gives an analytical overview of Arab-African relations in light of the Arab revolutions, deconstructing the myth of correlation, in this article he presented at Cairo University this summer. READ ARTICLE (IN ARABIC)