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Occasional publications

Debating the Origins of Boko Haram 

This publication opens with a review of Alexander Thurston's monograph, Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement, by Abdullahi Lamido. In his review, Lamido criticises Thurston for highlighting the relationship between Boko Haram's founder Muhammad Yusuf (d. 2009) and the Salafi scholar Ja'far Mahmud Adam (d. 2007), and for failing to highlight the previous links between Yusuf and the Shia scholar Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, which in his opinion, were responsible for inspiring the "radicalism" of Boko Haram's founder. In a response to Lamido's review, Andrea Brigaglia discusses some documents from the mid-2000s that show how the mainstream Nigerian Salafi scholars who were engaged in public debates against Yusuf were also, at the same time, lecturing to their public in favour of Al-Qaeda's global Jihad. Brigaglia argues that this ambiguity (trying to stop a jihadi movement in Nigeria while preaching in favour of the global movement that had inspired it) had a fundamental role in the history of the intra-Salafi conflict that ensued in the country. Brigaglia also argues that the recent attempt to shift the blame onto the Shia shows the co-optation of the Nigerian Salafi constituencies in the political game of the War on Terror in its Saudi version. In the third piece, Musa Ibrahim discusses a recent international conference held in Kano, in which the above debate featured prominently. After summarising the various viewpoints expressed by the speakers at the conference, Ibrahim suggests that in order to get out of the current impasse, Muslims of all orientations in Nigeria need to embrace a more inclusive theology towards Muslims of different orientations, as well as towards fellow non-Muslim citizens. 

The full text of these articles is available here

The History of Global Jihad in Nigeria

Brigaglia, Andrea. “'Slicing off the Tumour': The History of Global Jihad in Nigeria, as Narrated by the Islamic State".

In this article, Andrea Brigaglia analyses Khadh‘ al-waram min al-khawārij al-Shīkawiyya bi-bay‘at ahl al-karam (Slicing off the Tumour of Shekau's Kharijites, in Pledging Allegiance to the Honourable Ones), a book written by the two sons of Muhammad Yusuf (the first leader of "Boko Haram", died in 2009) and recently published by the Islamic State. This text gives new, rare insights into the context leading to and following Shekau's 2015 pledge of allegiance to the Caliphate of al-Baghdadi. In the concluding remarks that follow his analysis of the text, Brigaglia questions the usefulness of the term "Boko Haram" and tries to position himself in the recent debate over whether the Nigerian Jihadi movement should be seen mainly as the result of the local structural problems inherent to the Nigerian context, or of the agency of global Jihadi actors.

To read the full-text of this article, please contact Andrea Brigaglia.

Muslim Marriages Workshop, 22 May 2010

Tayob, Abdulkader, (ed.) Muslim Marriages in South Africa: From Constitution to Legislation: Papers Presented At Muslim Marriages Workshop, Saturday 22 My 2010, Capetonian Hotel. Cape Town: Centre for Contemporary Islam, UCT, 2011.

The Centre for Contemporary Islam at UCT organized a highly successful workshop at the Capetonian Hotel in on May 22, 2010. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the deadlock on the proposed Bill to recognize Muslim marriage conducted only according to Muslim rites.The meeting invited a number of speakers to address the issue. We are happy to make the papers available. A hard copy is also available at a nominal cost. Muslim Marriages Workshop Proceedings.

Kadhis Courts Workshop, 20 March 2010

Tayob Abdulkader, Wandera Joseph, (ed.) Constitutional Review in Kenya and Kadhis Courts: Selected Papers Presented At Workshop, 20 March 2010, St Paul's University, Limuru, Kenya. Cape Town: Centre for Contemporary Islam, UCT, 2011.

On March 20th 2010, CCI in conjunction with the Department of Religious Studies,St Paul's University,Limuru organized a highly successful workshop on Kadhis Courts in Kenya. Since 1996 to 2010, Kenyans have been engaged in important exercise of re-writing their constitution. One contentious aspect of this process was the inclusion of Kadhis Courts (Muslim judges)in the constitution. Some Christian groups have argued that the inclusion of these courts privileges one religion (Islam) over others in a constitution that is premised on the notion of a secular state. Muslims argue that some legal adjudication is absolutely in the practice of their religion. The conference brought together over seventy participants to reflect on this process. Several papers were presented by academics from various universities in Kenya. Limuru Kenya Papers