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The 30th issue of Critical Muslim, the influential Hurst quarterly showcasing ground-breaking thinking on Islam and what it means to be a Muslim in a rapidly changing, interconnected world, focuses on West Africa. Guest-edited by Bissau-Guinean writer Yovanka Paquete Perdigao and Henry Brefo, it features short stories by the Cameroonian Bakwa Magazine editor Dzekashu Mcviban and the Nigerian novelist Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, poetry by the Ghanaian Brunel Prize finalist Victoria Adukwei Bullet, and essays by the Angolan writer-musician Kalaf Epalanga and BookShy blogger Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed.

The 256-page issue, released in April and available on Amazon, will be launched at the London School of Economics on 15 May.

With the Pakistani-British writer and cultural critic Ziauddin Sardar as editor, each issue of Critical Muslim “centers on a discrete theme, and contributions include reportage, academic analysis, cultural commentary, photography, poetry, and book reviews.” This is its seventh issue to focus on a specific region, after Issue 4 on Pakistan, Issue 7 on the Muslim Archipelago of Malaysia and Indonesia, Issue 9 on the Maghreb, Issue 11 on Syria, Issue 16 on Turkey, and Issue 23 on Bangladesh.

Here is a description of the Issue 30.

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How does one navigate the rich cultural and political geography of West Africa? Mapping the diverse manifestations of Islamic influence, this issue of Critical Muslim brings together the resplendent but manifold articulations of Muslim and African identity. From the forest kingdom of precolonial Ashanti to the cultural theatres of free and independent Senegal, Islam astounds nobility and flirts with creativity. A human story of struggle, living, belonging, and daring unfolds.

Yovanka Paquete Perdigao and Henry Brefo navigate the rich cultural and political geography of West Africa by telling the Lion’s story, Shanka Mesa Siverio relates her experience of architecture, culture and identity, Henry Brefo laments that we were once friends, Jean-Ann Ndow explores West Africa’s history through the song and dance of Griots, Peter Griffiths takes a tour of West African cities, Hafeez Burhan Khan thrills with tales of book smugglers in Timbuktu, Estrella Sendra is at the cinema with Ousmane Sembène, Kalaf Epalanga gets his Afrobeat groove on, Hang Zhou sees potential in the African Yuan, Nouriah Bah finds evidence of the legacy of Pan-Africanism today and Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed has the perfect answer to the endless questioning of her identity.

Also in this issue: Tam Hussein on his encounter with Jihadis, Ngadi Smart introduces us to faces of Abissa, Shanon Shah decolonises the book of kings, Samia Rahman learns about giants of an Islamic past, Natasha Koverola Commisiong finds Africa in Somerset House and Gemma Edom goes fishing in Akure, [and] short stories by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim and Dzekashu MacViban, poems by Victoria Adukwei Bulley, “The Last Word on My Generation” by Oluwagbemileke Joy Jegede. And Yovanka Paquete Perdigao has some sterns words of advice on what not to do when visiting West Africa.

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Critical Muslim 30 is available on Amazon.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he is a judge for The Gerald Kraak Prize and was a judge for The Morland Writing Scholarship in 2019. He is Nonfiction Editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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