African Constitutionalism and the Role of Islam

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  • Format: Book
  • Published: 2006, University of Pennsylvania Press
  • ISBN: 9780812239621
  • 216 pages
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According to the author, constitutionalism is succeeding in Africa incrementally through practice. The book examines the dynamic relationship of general principles of constitutionalism and experiences in realizing these principles in the local context of a range of African countries. It also explores the "contingent role of Islam," that competing understandings of Islam can either be supportive or detrimental to the development of constitutionalism in African Islamic societies, depending on a variety of factors. This thesis and analysis, as a specific example of the broader thesis of the book as a whole, is applied to the development of constitutionalism in Sudan, Nigeria, and Senegal. Sponsored by CSLR, the American Council of Learned Societies and the Emory University School of Law.

About the Author: Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im

Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na`im is Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law at Emory University. Prior to joining Emory in 1995, he was Executive Director of Human Rights Watch/Africa. In February 2009, An-Na`im received an Honorary Doctorate from the Universite catholique de Louvain (UCL, Louvain-la-Neuve) and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U. Leuven, Leuven), Belgium. He also served as Global Legal Scholar at the Law School, University of Warwick, UK (until August 2010); and Extraordinary Professor at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (until December 2010). An-Na`im has published more than 60 articles and book chapters on human rights, constitutionalism, Islamic law and politics. As a 2009 Carnegie Scholar, he is working on a book manuscript for Oxford University Press, tentatively entitled: “What is an  American Muslim,” in which he is applying the thesis presented in his 2008 book, Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari`a.  This book is available for download free of charge in eight languages of Islamic societies at (


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