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


CIHRS-h2-1 copy(TIRN Editor’s Note: This annual report by CIHRS, which came out on May 16, 2013, recently came to my attention. Especially interesting to note is the report’s observations about human rights in Egypt. Written before the events of last week, the report notes the “repressive practices” of the regime, and that Egyptians “are paying a heavy price for their revolution as the chances for building national consensus around the transitional period dissipate.” Below is the press release for the report in English, which also covers Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Algeria, and the Palestinian Territories. Also, the introduction (in English) has been shared with TIRN, and permission given for publication on this site. The full report has only been released in Arabic. Find it here.) 

(Press Release)  Two years after the “Arab Spring” swept the Arab region and led within months to the ouster of the autocratic rulers in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen, the state of human rights in these countries remains dire and the chances for democratic transition face major challenges. The Arab countries which were less affected by the “Arab Spring” also continue to witness serious human rights violations which vary from one country to the next. Meanwhile, brutal crimes continue to be committed by the Syrian regime, even as the opposition has also been responsible for severe violations. These are some of the rights-related issues dealt with in the fifth annual report published by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies under the title of “Delivering Democracy: Repercussions of the ‘Arab Spring’ on Human Rights.” Continue reading