HomeMuslims in the Sahel: stories of jihad

HomeMuslims in the Sahel: stories of jihad

Muslims in the Sahel: stories of jihad

Musulmans au Sahel : histoires de jihad

*  *  *

Published on Monday, May 11, 2015 by Elsa Zotian

Summary

This roundtable aims at confronting the current narratives of the war on terrorism with historical perspectives on past jihad in the Sahel. Case studies include the Mad Mullah in Somaliland, the Mahdi in the Sudan, Rabih in Borno, El Hadj Omar in Senegal and Mali, the Sokoto caliphate in Nigeria and the Macina Empire in Mali. The debate is restricted to uprisings under the banner of Islam and does not cover any war involving Muslims. 

Announcement

Hestia Expertise, Fondation de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Institut français de géopolitique (Université Paris 8)

The round tablie will take place from 9h to 17h at IMAF (Institut des mondes africains), salle Maurice et Denys Lombard (96, bd Raspail 75006 Paris)

Argument

This roundtable aims at confronting the current narratives of the war on terrorism with historical perspectives on past jihad in the Sahel. Case studies include the Mad Mullah in Somaliland, the Mahdi in the Sudan, Rabih in Borno, El Hadj Omar in Senegal and Mali, the Sokoto caliphate in Nigeria and the Macina Empire in Mali. The debate is restricted to uprisings under the banner of Islam and does not cover any war involving Muslims. The analyses focuses on the following points:

  • the modalities of territorial control by jihadists,
  • state building;
  • the circulation of ideas and men;
  • the religious arguments to justify the killings or the slavery of Muslims;
  • the relationship to Non-Muslims: European colonizers, Christians, Unbelievers;
  • heroes or bandits? The memorializing process of the leading figures of past jihads.

Contributors

  • Roger Botte: Institut des mondes africains (CNRS-EHESS)

Title : Jihad and enslavement: from nineteenth-century jihads to Boko Haram and Daech

Muhammad Yusuf, mentor of Boko Haram, refers to treaties written by al-Maghili (d. 1504) and Uthman dan Fodio’s writings. All these scholars advocate jihad against the polytheists and against those who call themselves Muslims while remaining pagans. Specifically, for Muhammad Yusuf, the Western school imposed by missionaries and colonialists supplanted the Islamic system of education pre-existent in Northern Nigeria, which has led some Muslims to be unbelievers. Against these ungodly people there is no more meritorious jihad than jihad of purification. And women’s enslavement and children of the disbelievers is a legitimate saving work. Finally, following the example of Daech, the prescriptions of Islamic law require the establishment of an Islamic state.

  • Alain Gascon: Professeur émérite, Institut français de géopolitique, Université Paris 8.

Title: Continuity or Break between seyyid Maxamed Cabdille Xasan — the “Mad Mullah” of Somalia — and the Shabaab?

Somalia — the only nation-state in sub-Saharan Africa — has nevertheless been in search of its lost unity for almost 30 years. Since 1991 Somaliland has seceded and the former Italian possession has been torn a part by clashes with warlords and with the Shabaab. They have declared allegiance to Al Qaeda and are primarily fighting for Ummah. Thus they are unaware of seyyid Maxamed Cabdille Xasan (the Mad Mullah) who had led from 1899 to 1920 a jihad against the United-Kingdom, Ethiopia and Italy. He was hailed as the father of the country by Siyaad Barre. Although he was a native of Somaliland the separatists in Hargeysa have no more claimed to go back to the seyyid’s spirit than the Government in Mogadishu! Have the Shabaab nothing to do with the seyyid’s troops, the Darawiish?

  • Vincent Hiribarren: Kings College, London

Title: Violence and Fanaticism? The Empire of Borno under the Reign of Rabih

This paper will analyse the invasion of Borno by Rabih in the last decade of the nineteenth century. I will examine how Rabah created a "predatory state" but will also focus on the religious dimension of his rule as he claimed to be Mahdist. Rabah was killed by French troops in 1900 but his reign is still remembered as a period of religious fanaticism and violence in the Lake Chad area. This paper will thus try to understand how this image was constructed. 

  • Murray Last: University College, London

Title: From dissent to dissidence: the genesis & development of reformist Islamic groups in northern Nigeria

  • Marc-Antoine de Montclos: Institut français de géopolitique, Paris

Title: Against history : the narratives ot terrorism in ‘Sahelistan’

Current narratives of the war on terrorism in the Sahel tend to portray jihad of today as being unprecedented in terms of territorial control, social basis and transnational connections. However, insurgencies under the banner of a revolutionary Islam are not new. It is thus necessary to understand the past to analyse the changes in violent Islamic reform movements.

  • Gérard Prunier: CNRS

Title: Sudanese Mahdism : from messianic Jihad to conservative institutionalization

Mahdism was in its time (late XIXth century) perceived by British imperialism as its main enemy . After a smooth transition between World War One and the 1950s , it became the epitome of “realistic Islamism” and the core embodiment of conservative (and pro-western) Islamic politics.

  • Francis Simonis: MCF HDR Histoire de l'Afrique à Aix-Marseille-Université

Title: Holy Wars and the Macina Empire in Mali

  • Jean-Louis Triaud: Institut des mondes africains

Title: El Hadj Omar in Senegal and Mali: a warlord ?

Al-Hajj 'Umar Tal (c. 1794 / 1796-1864), born in the Middle Senegal Valley, is a well-known figure in the West African history. Trained in Islamic studies, he joined a new brotherhood, the Tijaniyya, made the pilgrimage to Mecca, and then stayed on his return during eight years in the Sokoto Caliphate, an Islamic state derived from a early nineteenth century jihad, in Hausaland (North Nigeria). Back in Senegambia, in 1854, he launched his own jihad, with troops recruited in his native country: first, vainly against the French in Senegal, then against Bambara animists states in present Mali to end with a fratricidal struggle against a Muslim competitor, the Dina of Macina, in the western part of the Niger Bend. The historiography of independences has celebrated him as an anti-colonial hero. This heroic image has stayed alive in Senegal, where it is combined with that of a champion of Islam. On the contrary, he has left, in Mali, the memory of a mass-murderer and slave provider. He was a scholar, a warrior, the leader of a triple jihad against Christians, pagans and "bad Muslims". He has conquered a vast territory, combining international experience and regional strategies, and he has been theorizing his actions in his writings. As such, he is a good example of a West African jihad on the eve of colonial conquest.

Places

  • Salle Maurice et Denys Lombard, IMAF - 96, bd Raspail
    Paris, France (75006)

Date(s)

  • Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Keywords

  • jihad, Mali, Nigeria, Soudan, Sénégal, madhisme, Daech, Shabaab, Boko Haram, Macina

Contact(s)

  • Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Monclos
    courriel : marc-antoine [dot] perouse-de-montclos [at] ird [dot] fr

Information source

  • Francis Simonis
    courriel : francis [dot] simonis [at] univ-amu [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Muslims in the Sahel: stories of jihad », Miscellaneous information, Calenda, Published on Monday, May 11, 2015, https://calenda.org/327804

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search