In early March 2010, members of H-Net Africa, an academic listserv, received a posting from one Moshe Terdman announcing the launch of a new blog called “Islam in Africa Watch.”  Terdman claimed that “the knowledge about Islam in Africa is lacking” and his blog would “shed light on this important issue.”  He also announced that content for the site would be sourced from “Jihadi forums” and from “websites of Shiite, Sufi, and radical Muslim organizations throughout Africa.”  He ended by promising that “this blog will include also articles and analysis pieces.”

This came as news for the scholars subscribed to the list. First Ibra Sene (assistant professor of history and international affairs at Wooster College) and Douglas Thomas (assistant professor of history at Southern Arkansas University) noted that it was news to them that “knowledge on Islam in Africa is lacking.” Brett O’Bannon, an associate professor of political science at DePauw University, just back from Senegal, wondered if Terdmann would also announce a “Christian Missionary Watch,” or a “China Investment Watch” ? O’Bannon also contrasted the proposed blog’s language with the open and informed debates about various issues he encountered among Muslims there.

But it was another subcriber Thomas L. Miles took it one step further:

I was rather surprised to see an advertisement here for the “Orient Research Group”‘s “Islam in Africa Watch” website.  Just to be clear, the constellation of organizations listed on this website are a series of right-wing Zionist groups tightly tied to elements of the neo-conservative movement in the United States.  Prominent on this website’s credits are the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center & The Project for the Research of Islamist Movements (PRISM), both run by prominent Canadian right-wing Zionist campaigner Barry Rubin.

They are based, as is the author of the blog, at The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), a privately owned organization with strong ties to the Israeli government and military, which also hosts right-wing pro
settlement campaigns such as “Stand With Us” and

The author of this missive is a career member of the IDC/GLORIA family, and a frequent co-author with Reuven Paz, the former director of Israel’s counterintelligence agency, the Shin Bet.  Terdman (variously Mr. and Dr.) has written such news articles as “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND): Al-Qaeda’s Unlikely Ally in Nigeria,” and “Caribbean Memories of Slavery and the Myths of Othman dan Fodio’s Sokoto Caliphate” (the key word is “myths” The author wishes to portray Shehu Usman dan Fodio as a sort of Al Qaeda ante litteram).  With Paz he has written “Africa: The Gold Mine of Al Qaeda and Global Jihad” and ?Islam’s Inroads. I’m struggling to see how this is appropriate to an academic mailing list.”

Terdman has not responded.

Further Reading

No more caricatures

Engaging seriously with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life could help us understand how South Africa got where it is and where it’s going.