by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCOMMENTARY and TIRN with MBAYE LO on MAY 10, 2016:

Duke University Asian & Middle Eastern studies professor Mbayo Lo and University of Botswana theologian Muhammed Haron (a South African native) are the editors of a new book “Muslim Institutions of Higher Education in Postcolonial Africa” — published by Palgrave, Fall 2015.

The book’s authors include: Adnan A. Adikata (Islamic University in Uganda, Kampala, Uganda); Abdulmageed Ahmed (International University of Africa, Sudan); Chanfi Ahmed (Zentrum Moderner Orient, Germany); Ismail S. Gyagenda (Mercer University, Georgia); Moshood Mahmood Jimba (Kwara State University, Nigeria); Mamadou-Youry Sall  (Université Gaston Berger, Senegal); Hamza Mustafa Njozi, (Muslim University of Morogoro, Tanzania); Wardah M. Rajab-Gyagenda (Islamic University in Uganda); Ahmad K. Sengendo (Islamic University in Uganda); Adam Adebayo (Kogi State University, Nigeria); Alexander Thurston (Georgetown University); Adam Yousef Mousa (Republic of Chad); Roman Loimeier (University of Göttingen, Germany); Ousman Kobo (The Ohio State University).

The anthology, which grew out of *a workshop hosted by the Duke Islamic Studies Center in Fall 2013 on “Islamic Institutions of Higher Learning in Africa: Their History, Mission and Role in Regional Development,” examines, through case studies, the colonial discriminatory practices against Muslim education, and discusses the Islamic reform movement of the post-colonial experience.  (In the case of this book, Muslim institutions of higher learning refers to Islamic education at the university level.)

Haron wrote, in an essay published about the Duke workshop that brought together scholars and administrators: “Many Muslim institutions of higher learning have emerged on the African continent over the past few decades. These institutions have in one way or another made their contributions towards the societies and environments where they are situated. Despite the noble objectives of some that were set up, the objectives often have been unrealized as a result of a lack of financial and other resources. There have, however, been other institutions that have flourished and made invaluable inputs to their respective communities.”

In this written Q & A with ISLAMiCommentary, Professor Lo talks about the findings and conclusions of their book. Continue reading

by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary and TIRN, with MOSHOOD JIMBA on FEBRUARY 21, 2014: 

In a well-attended October workshop at Duke on Islamic Institutions of Higher Learning in Africa: Their History, Mission and Role in Regional Development, which drew a number of scholars and administrators from the U.S. and Africa, Dr. Moshood Mahmud Jimba (Kwara State University, Nigeria) presented a paper on ‘The Role of Al-Azhar University in Educating the Nigerian Youth:  Ilorin – Al-Azhar Institute as a Case Study.”

(Al-Azhar University, in Cairo, Egypt, was founded in the tenth century as a centre of Islamic learning is today the chief center of Arabic literature and Islamic learning in the world)

While he was at Duke, I had an opportunity to interview Jimba on the impact of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University on Islamic higher education in Nigeria, as well both the positive contributions of Islamic higher education to society and its limits (within the Nigerian context). 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 LAURIE PATTON for PATHEOS on DECEMBER 31, 2012: 

(excerpt) Many leaders of the movement to give women more leadership roles in Islam are marked in public discourse as American or Western European; the first woman-led prayer service was held in New York City in 2006 and the press noted that it was predominantly attended by American women and men. In the Catholic Church, the feminist movements, and pro-ordination advocates, are particularly concentrated in America and Western Europe, and seen as a problem precisely because they are in these more Westernized, liberal cultures. Continue reading