Writings Elsewhere: Mali, Islamic Education in Northern Nigeria, and ECOWAS

I’ve put out a few things recently that followers of this blog might be interested in reading:

  • At The American Interest, I have an analysis of Mali’s twin crises and their implications for the region, as well as for the United States.
  • At New York University’s The Revealer, I’ve finished a six-part series, “Schooling Muslims in Northern Nigeria.” Here are links to the introduction, part two (on Qur’anic schools), part three (on advanced Islamic education in “traditional” settings), part four (on “Islamiyya” schools), part five (on universities) and the conclusion. For more on these topics, I would recommend The Ink of the Scholar, Quranic Schools: Agents of Preservation and Change, the 1975 dissertation of John Weir Chamberlin, and Dr. Muhammad Sani Umar’s article “Education and Islamic Trends in Northern Nigeria: 1970-1990s” in Africa Today (summer 2001).
  • At World Politics Review, I have a briefing on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its reactions to the coups in Mali and Guinea-Bissau.
  • Finally, I recently reviewed Hans G. Kippenberg’s Violence as Worship for H-Net Reviews.

If you read any of these pieces, please let me know what you thought of them!

8 thoughts on “Writings Elsewhere: Mali, Islamic Education in Northern Nigeria, and ECOWAS

  1. I think you wrote an excellent series of articles.

    As a Christian and a Nigerian, I have never been comfortable with Islamic schooling in Northern Nigeria.

    Nothing builds a common national identity like a common educational system. All leading nations of the World pass their citizens through a common educational system. The wide disparity between the educational experience of the child in the far North and his counterparts in the South and Middle Belt really concerns me, especially when the Christian influence on education in the South/Middle Belt is also growing.

    In a democracy, rapidly diverging World views are not healthy.

    • Thanks for reading! I can certainly see why you are concerned about the split in the educational systems.

      • You might not know that starting from the late eighties, there has been massive investment by Christian bodies in the education sector.

        There are several Christian universities run by Catholics, Anglicans and Pentecostals.

        A very interesting research topic could be to examine what impact a heavily religious education could have on the next generation of Nigerian Muslims and Christians.

        (In my time, the Federal Government made a conscious effort to integrate schools and build a Nigeria in which everyone had a sense of the wider community. Sadly, the strong influence of both Islamic and Christian religious bodies in the education sector could result in the next generation of Nigerians being less, not more open-minded).

  2. Just to add.

    There is a problem as old as Lugard – on what terms will Northern Nigeria embrace modernity?

    The problem with Northern Nigeria is that it is an ancient civilisation that is yet to come to terms with the modern world. That problem has been compounded by fifty years of exceptionally bad leadership.

    Non-Northerners look at the North with a certain degree of weariness. Both the South and the Middle Belt have reached a consensus on what modernity means and on what terms they intend to embrace modernity (this includes both Christians and Muslims).

    The North hasn’t made up its mind on whether it wants to go the way of Saudi Arabia or embrace the Malaysian or Turkish model or even set up an Taliban-style theocracy. The North hasn’t fully grasped the implications of living in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation.

    This confusion makes policy prescription and implementation extremely difficult. For example, 70.8% of the women in the North-West (in the 20-29 year age bracket), cannot read or write. If the North had made up its mind to embrace modernity a few decades ago, these statistics would not be so terrible.

    In Nigeria we have an increasing exclusive Northern society and the rest of the nation that is rapidly diverging from the North. What impact will this have on national unity and cohesion? Time will tell.

  3. asalamualiakum wa ramatullahi
    i am very greatfull to have this link,am in Ghana and i want to study quaran outside the country please help me

    • my commenent to you abubakar is that no matter how much u will spend to go and acquire islamic education…u will not loss..u will even be paid back by reward from Allah (swt)…..so my own advice is that just go and aqquire your knowledge even if it is from heaven…tnx vary much

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