"Islam in Africa" Conference

The Ali Vural Ak Center partnered with the Center for Strategic and International Studies to hold a conference on "Islam in Africa: Trends and Policy Implications" on March 25, 2013. Hosted at CSIS in Washington, D.C., the event brought policymakers and scholars together to explore key trends in African Islam and examine how these trends and other new influences are shaping Muslim communities and their engagement in politics and public life.

Guest speakers discussed new dynamics within Islam in Africa, how Muslim groups organize themselves, how they relate to the state, each other and the broader society, the political and social issues around which they mobilize and engage, and how African governments are responding to their activities. U.S. policymakers have focused on Islam in Africa largely through the prism of security and violent extremist groups. This conference aimed to examine those issues but place them within a much broader discussion of regional trends and dynamics.

Video of the entire conference can be seen here:


Welcome and Introduction - Jennifer G. Cooke (CSIS)

Panel 1, "Broad Trends in Islam in Africa"

James Bell (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life)

Terrence Lyons (George Mason University)

Moderator: Peter Mandaville (George Mason University)

Panel 2, "Modes of Engagement"

Sebastian Elischer (German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Leuphana University Lüneburg)

Lynn Aylward (World Faiths Development Dialogues)

Farid Esack (University of Johannesburg)

Moderator: Jennifer Cooke (CSIS)

Panel 3, "Extremist Groups, Violence, and Security"

Terje Østebø (University of Florida)

Alex Thurston (Northwestern University)

Paul Lubeck (Johns Hopkins University)

Moderator: Richard Downie (CSIS)

Closing Remarks - Peter Mandaville (George Mason University)