Salafism for Dummies

by Alex Thurston Suddenly, Salafism seems to be everywhere: mainstream Salafism, political Salafism, Wahhabist Salafism, Arab Salafism, Islamist Salafism, radical Salafism, and at least one instance of salafist-fundamentalist cage-fighting-ism. Continue Reading →

Of Shrines and Syncretists

by Alex Thurston Teju Cole analyzes the destruction of the shrines by analogy: Mali is premodern Europe; Mali is Afghanistan under the Taliban…Then comes the interesting analogy: Timbuktu is Mecca at the time of its conquest by the forces of the Prophet… Continue Reading →

Bad Sudanese? A “Marginal Revolt” is Underway

by Alex Thurston Should Sudan’s protesters topple President Omar al Bashir, I believe the media would get excited, but until they do, the Sudanese will remain, for the media, “marginal Arabs” or, as el Dahshan argues, Arab “villains.” Continue Reading →

Bad Sudanese? A "Marginal Revolt" is Underway

by Alex Thurston Should Sudan’s protesters topple President Omar al Bashir, I believe the media would get excited, but until they do, the Sudanese will remain, for the media, “marginal Arabs” or, as el Dahshan argues, Arab “villains.” Continue Reading →

Rethinking Mali's Political Culture

by Alex Thurston The MNLA and Ansar al Din have dominated the headlines about Mali this spring and summer. But how have other Malian Muslims reacted to the crisis in the north, and to the partial “Islamization” of the conflict by Ansar al Din? Continue Reading →

Rethinking Mali’s Political Culture

by Alex Thurston The MNLA and Ansar al Din have dominated the headlines about Mali this spring and summer. But how have other Malian Muslims reacted to the crisis in the north, and to the partial “Islamization” of the conflict by Ansar al Din? Continue Reading →

Mauritania: Islamic Response to the Sahel Drought

By Alex Thurston 9/11 changed the trajectory of Islamic humanitarian agencies in Africa and around the world…The US government suspected some Islamic charities of not really being charities at all, but rather fronts for transnational terrorist funding. Continue Reading →