In January 2009, several UW-Madison professors visited Senegal, where a Muslim majority and a Christian minority peacefully coexist. The group talked to Sara Erickson, a junior student from UW-Madison who was studying abroad in Senegal. In the video clip below, Sara reflects on her life-changing experience and shares her favorite phrase in the local Wolof language.
• Four of the top 10 countries with the largest number of Muslims are in Africa.
Egypt (#5): 78,513,000 Muslims
Nigeria (#6): 78,056,000
Algeria (#9): 34,199,000
Morocco (#10): 31,993,000
• 28% of the world's Muslim population lives in Africa.
• According to Arab oral tradition, Islam first came to Africa with Muslim refugees fleeing persecution in the Arab peninsula. This was followed by a military invasion, some seven years after the death of the prophet Mohammed in 639.
• In Africa, most states limit the use of Sharia law to "personal-status law" for issues such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and child custody. With the exceptions of Nigeria and Somalia, secularism does not seem to face any serious threat in Africa.
• Ancient manuscripts from Timbuktu, Mali are indicative of the high level of civilization attained by West Africans during the Middle Ages. Situated on the edge of the Sahara Desert, Timbuktu was famous as a market for obtaining the goods and products of Africa. However, Timbuktu's most famous and long-lasting contribution to Islamic and world civilization is the scholarship practiced there.
• The Great Mosque of Djenné in Mali is the largest mud brick building in the world. It was inscribed on the UN's World Heritage List in 1988.
1. "Mapping the Global Muslim Population" - Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
2. "The Story of Africa: Islam (BBC)
3. "Islam in Africa (Wikipedia)
4. "Ancient Manuscripts from the Desert Libraries of Timbuktu (The Library of Congress)
5. "World Heritage List
6. "The Great Mosque, Djenné