In the current era of neoliberalism, there is not only an expansion of Western influence in many parts of Africa, but also increased influence from the Arab world. Transnational Islamic nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are a vehicle of this influence. In a context of structural adjustment, an increased spread of Western consumption ideals through mass communication, and a growing sense of the global context in which one is living, these organizations aim to influence people's material and moral well-being. By combining material aid with proselytization, they embed their work in ideas about transnational solidarity and the importance of enlarging the umma, the global community of the faithful. By disseminating a Salafi form of Islam, they link local believers to other parts of the Muslim world. They thus nourish processes of Islamization and Arabization. This paper explores the interventions of these organizations in Chad, focusing on the logic of their work and the effects of their involvement in Chad, characterized by poverty and a strong politicization of religion.
There is an international movement that advocates the establishment of quotas for women, especially in political and governmental positions. Partly as a result of its initiatives and efforts, countries have introduced legislation that endorses its spirit. These efforts have been important in addressing the gender gap; however, the means of articulating these legislative measures and implementing them vary from country to another. This article focuses on the textual formulation of the Quota Bill (2001) in Niger and how secularist and Islamist political elite women responded to it during the debate that led to its legal adoption.
In Niger, women have long been seen as embodiments of virtue (or wickedness). Of late, with the rise of reformist Islam, their role as upholders of purity has become key to the definition of moral community. Debates over the control of female sexuality and the ordering of social spaces have intensified. While such debates are characteristically framed in Islamic terms, one should not assume that pre-Islamic cosmologies—often denigrated by Islam—have become irrelevant to local moral concerns. In August 2003, rumors of a veiled she-devil haunting the streets of Zinder in search of seductive encounters provoked a moral panic, which eventually received a full account in a Nigérien newspaper. Muslim reformists argued the apparition was meant to discourage women from veiling, but others countered that it served as a warning to philandering husbands. It demonstrated that far from waning under the impact of Islamic revivals, figures of the pre-Islamic past are well entrenched in Islamic towns. Besides suggesting that non-Muslim others cannot be consigned to history, the rumors of spiritual intrusion discussed in this article highlight the centrality of the non-Muslim other in popular constructions of Muslimhood. In an age of renewed Muslim anxiety about forms of femininity perceived to conflict with the image of virtuous womanhood, the she-devil offered Nigérien Muslims a means of pondering the dangers of women's sexuality. At another level, her tale is about spirits parodying Islam so as to reveal the limits of morality. By subversively playing with notions of modesty and morality, the spirit presented a sobering critique of the hypocrisy of the veil in contemporary Niger.
In 1999 and 2000, twelve states in northern Nigeria declared Islamic law (Shari'ah) the state criminal law for all Muslims, redefining the boundaries of identity, civility, and criminality. In the city of Kano, the implementation of Shari'ah criminal codes appealed to Muslims from all sectors of society, as a democratic alternative to, and strong critique of, colonialism and the elitism and corruption of federal and state politicians. Urban ward gang members ( 'yan daba) agitated alongside other Muslim youths for the implementation of Shari'ah codes, yet with others deemed "marginal Muslims," became the immediate objects of preaching and surveillance by Hisbah (Shari'ah enforcers). Perceptual experiences in everyday life—whether one wore the beard of Muslim orthodoxy, or the baggy jeans and chains of Los Angeles rappers, or prayed at the tombs of Sufi saints—began to redefine and frame identity in terms of ethnic, Islamic "authenticity," morality, and neighborhood and state security. In this article, I describe the changing relations of Hisbah and 'yan daba during the 2000 implementation of Shari'ah codes in Kano, providing an analysis of the impact of the implementation itself on nonreformist residents. I show that reformist Hisbah vigilantly scrutinized Muslims living in ethnically plural spaces, Muslim ethnic minorities, and people who, by virtue of their region of origin, religion, or ethnicity, were deemed to be "marginal Muslims" or polytheists, and thus, "out of place." Reformist Hisbah considered Muslim 'yan daba, 'yan Bori (followers of Bori), nonreformist Sufis (with pro-Shari'ah Sufi critics of Hisbah), and non-Hausa Muslims, particularly Muslim Yoruba, to be political–spiritual saboteurs who disallowed the reenchantment of orthodoxy and its ability to function as Islamic political unity and collective memory. For 'yan daba and Hisbah, Islamic state-building became a work of ethnic, religious, and regional conflation, which through unlawful displays of masculine power conflicted with the political aspirations of moderate Muslim Hausa, and superseded personal and non-Muslim Hausa expressions of Islamic authenticity, morality, and security.
This article analyzes the political, social, and religious discourse of the Association des Étudiants Musulmans de l'Université de Dakar (AEMUD), and does so by analyzing its newspaper, L'Étudiant Musulman. It explores the image of Muslim identity that the association proposes by showing how this identity results from a complex and stratified ideological corpus, based on the fundamental principles and texts of Islam and on local, regional, and international political–religious contexts. It examines whether, through AEMUD's dualist interpretation of the world, the demand for another hegemonic cultural model, one based on Sharîca, necessarily signifies the rejection of globalization and its attributes.