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Perspectives Social Change

African Communities: Reflections of Coexistence and Cooperation, Session 3

Nov 9, 2021 49 MINUTES

As part of the Annual Charles K. Wilkinson Lecture, join scholars in the fields of Egyptian, Islamic, and Ancient Near Eastern art to explore social, religious, and economic interconnections on the African continent and between Africans and their neighbors. A thirty-minute Q and A follows the presentations.

Social Cooperation between Muslims and Followers of Non-Scriptural Religions: A Deep-Rooted West African Tradition

Muslims began to frequent the West African Sahel ca. 133 AH, or 750 CE. Muslim communities later developed in the region and were granted protection by Sahelian rulers they called kuffār (unbelievers), beginning a long-lasting tradition of coexistence and cooperation. Muslims saw Sahelian kuffār as helpers and associates, while they perceived other West African kuffār as people who could be legitimately enslaved and traded across the desert. This presentation examines the history of this classificatory ambiguity.

Recorded on November 9, 2021.


Paulo Fernando de Moraes Farias, Professor, Department of African Studies and Anthropology, University of Birmingham

See more lectures featured in the Charles Wilkinson Lecture Series, including: Outsiders on the Inside: The Enigmatic Pan-Grave Culture in the Ancient Nile Valley and Ancient Africa: Insights from the Aksumite Town of Beta Samati, Ethiopia.

This program is made possible by the Charles Wilkinson Lecture Series Fund.

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