For the last two centuries, the Muslim societies of Africa, Asia and other parts of the world have had to confront Western domination, of one variety or another, and forms of the modernity which the West has practiced and championed as universal. In their adaptations these societies have developed original institutions and "alternative modernities" that enrich our understanding of Islam and of the contemporary world. West Africans have been no exception to this general rule, even though Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be neglected by "orientalists" as well as Muslims from the "heartlands" of the faith. In this portal we show West Africans as resourceful, original and yes, "modern" practitioners of Islam; they are important examples for teachers and students of world history. We emphasize Senegambia, a Muslim majority area set in the Sahel, and Ghana, a Muslim minority country set in the forest region.

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