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Islamic Militancy in Africa

Terje Ostebo / African Center for Strategic Studies  November 2012


The rise in Islamic militancy in the Sahel, northern Nigeria, and the Horn of Africa has elevated attention to this evolving security concern. Hopes that Africa’s historically moderate interpretations of Islam would suffice to filter extremist views from gaining meaningful traction seem increasingly misplaced. More generally, understanding of this unconventional security challenge is often based more on speculation than informed assessment. Responses must avoid conflating distinct Islamist actors while addressing local level perceptions of disaffection and under-representation that underpin support for militants.

Africa's Fragile States: Empowering Extremists, Exporting Terrorism

Zachary Devlin-Foltz / African Center for Strategic Studies August 2010


Persistent reports of extremist activity from across Africa have deepened concern over the spread of radicalism on the continent. Extremists capitalize on political and security vacuums within Africa’s fragile states to grow their support base and consolidate their strength. Stable states that provide opportunities for political participation empower moderates while delegitimating extremists’ use of violence.

Purist Salafism in the Sahel and its position on the Jihadist Map

Mohamed Salem Ould Mohamed / Al Jazeera  Center for Studies July 2012


Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Niger and other states in the Sahel appear to be experiencing a new “Salafist era.” Since the introduction of Saudi Wahhabist institutions in the 1970s Salafism has expanded gradually in the Sahel, though with varying success as it interacted with differing political contexts and contrasted sharply with prevailing Islamic institutions. However, states in the Sahel may be able to leverage their religious and ethnic diversity to temper and reverse extremism’s rise.

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