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Sultan Speaks on ‘Islam and Peace’ at Harvard

Muhammad-Sa'ad-Abubakar-031.jpg - Muhammad-Sa'ad-Abubakar-031.jpg

Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III

By  Olusegun Adeniyi      

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, will today deliver the Samuel L. and Elizabeth Jodidi Lecture, one of the most distinguished lectures at the Harvard University.

According to a statement by the university, “the Sultan of Sokoto is the religious leader of Nigeria’s Muslim community, which consists of approximately half of the country’s nearly 160 million inhabitants, and of millions of Muslims in adjoining countries in West Africa. He serves Nigeria as president-general of the National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs. His role continues the leadership of the Sokoto Caliphate that unified the region under Islamic law in the early nineteenth century.

“He is the younger son of the 17th Sultan of Sokoto, Siddiq Abu Bakar dan Usuman (1903-1988), who held the sultanate for 50 years, and he is a descendent of Imam Usman dan Fodio (1754-1817), the first Sultan of Sokoto. He began his military career in 1975 and has been primarily involved in leading missions focused on peacekeeping and conflict resolution. Prior to his appointment as sultan in 2006, he was Nigeria’s defence adviser in Pakistan, with concurrent accreditation to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States.”

The Jodidi Lecture, jointly sponsored by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and Harvard Divinity School (HDS), is titled “Islam and Peace-Building in West Africa.”

Established in 1955, the Jodidi Lecture Series provides for the “delivery of lectures by eminent and well-qualified persons for the promotion of tolerance, understanding, and good will among nations, and the peace of the world”. The lecture has been given at Harvard by 22 individuals, including Andreas Papandreou, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Abba Eban, Corazon Aquino, and Rajiv Gandhi.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for the Harvard community to engage one of the most important Muslim leaders in Africa,” said William A. Graham, Dean of Harvard Divinity School. “Anyone interested in peacekeeping, religious leadership, women’s leadership in Islam, the postcolonial experience, African religions, or a host of other issues, will find the sultan a fascinating figure who confounds many American stereotypes of both sub-Saharan Africa and the Islamic tradition.”

In addition to delivering the Jodidi Lecture, the sultan will contribute to the panel discussion on “Muslim Women’s Religious Literacy: The Legacy of Nana Asma’u in the Twenty-first Century and Beyond,” sponsored by the Women’s Studies in Religion Programme at HDS.

Other panellists will include Ousseina Alidou, director of the African Studies Center, Rutgers University, and Zainab Alwani, Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies, Howard University School of Divinity, and the first female jurist on the Fiqh Council of North America.

The sultan will also participate in “Nigeria and the World”, a seminar convened by Jacob Olupona, Professor of African Religious Traditions at HDS today.


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Posted by on Oct 3 2011. Filed under Headlines, Sultan of Sokoto. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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