Accepted paper:

Islam on University Campuses in Côte d'Ivoire since 1970: "Muslim Intellectuals" and Francophone Salafism


Issouf Binaté (Université Alassane Ouattara)
Frédérick Madore (University of Florida)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyzes Islamic organizations on university campuses in Côte d'Ivoire since the 1970s through the emergence of "Muslim Intellectuals" using French as a language of Islam, the rise of Salafism and religious entrepreneurship.

Paper long abstract:

In the 1970s, many Ivorian Muslim students had an "inferiority complex" regarding their Islamic identity in a space dominated by secular and Christian ideologies. With the support of elders educated in arab countries, young Muslims created the Association des Étudiants et Élèves Musulmans de Côte d'Ivoire (AEEMCI) in 1972. This paper is based on fieldwork conducted on university campuses of Abidjan, Bouaké, Daloa and Korhogo in 2014, 2015, 2018, and 2019. First, we claim that AEEMCI activities have greatly contributed to the progression of French as a legitimate language to spread Islam in Côte d'Ivoire, but also to the emergence of an elite claiming a status of "Muslim intellectuals". Secondly, we show that with the rise of Salafism in Côte d'Ivoire from the 1990s, universities have become arenas of competition between rival Islamic organizations with the creation of the Communauté des Élèves et Étudiants Musulmans de Côte d'Ivoire (CEEMUCI) and Al-Mouwahhidoun. Thirdly, although the main objectives of these organizations is still to train its members to better know Islam, religious entrepreneurship involving humanitarian activities and socioeconomic development are now deemed very important for these groups. Islamic organizations on university campus are actively contributing to the recent phenomenon of NGO-ization of Islamic organizations in Côte d'Ivoire.

panel Rel11
Religiosity on University campus