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Militant Islam in Africa: Home

Welcome to the LibGuide Militant Islam in Africa!

This research guide presents a variety of sources related to the study of militant Islam in Africa. It describes printed and online sources carried by Northwestern University and internet sources related to other groups and institutions. 

A Northwestern scholar’s perspective on Boko Haram

Read Northwestern University Professor Richard Joseph’s analysis of Boko Haram, published on

Kidnapped Nigerian girls 'pawns'

What is Militant Islam in Africa?

What is Militant Islam in Africa?

The rise of Islamic militancy in parts of the Sahel and Horn of Africa poses growing threats to regional stability. The appeal of these militants stems from their ability to tap into and persuade marginalized communities, particularly youth, that their grievances can be rectified by the establishment of a more pure Islamist culture.

Despite breakthroughs, Islamic militants in Africa typically do not possess great military power and may not seek to govern at the state level. Rather, they tend to be homegrown phenomena, focused on local concerns.

Islamic militant organizations in Africa generally only command the support of small minorities within Muslim communities. However, ill-considered interventions, especially those involving Western forces, can reinforce the militants’ narrative, thereby strengthening their credibility and recruitment.

Source: "Islamic Militancy in Africa"

By Terje Ostebo
African Security Brief -- A Publication of the African Center for Strategic Studies
November, 2012

Brief Reflection on the Issue

“It is time to demand a sense of proportion and realism. Communication advance has made it possible for both good and evil to transcend boundaries virtually at the speed of light, and for the spores of hatred to travel just as fast, and as widely as the seeds of harmony. The world should not continue to acquiesce in the brutal culture of extremism that demands the impossible -- control of the conduct of millions in their individual spheres, under different laws, usages, cultures and indeed -- degrees of sanity.”

“Religion against Humanity”

Wole Soyinka, 2012

Subject Guide

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Esmeralda Kale
(847) 491-7684
Northwestern University Library
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, Il 60208

Interview with Female Victims of Boko Haram

For complete report go to the tab International Organization Documents