Muslim Women in Burkina Faso since the 1970s: Toward Recognition as Figures of Religious Authority?

In: Islamic Africa
Frédérick Madore Université Laval,

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Muriel Gomez-Perez Université Laval,

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This paper examines how visibility and legitimacy have been defined and achieved by Muslim women who have contributed to the development of Islam in Burkina Faso since the 1970s. We undertake a transversal study of the trajectories of women belonging to different cohorts of Arabic- and French-educated Muslims. In doing so, we highlight identity markers closely associated with key moments in their lives (activism through associations or personal initiatives, religious studies, the pilgrimage to Mecca, and media activities). Through the lens of performativity, we show how women have progressively gained visibility within the Muslim community. And although figures of religious authority remain uniformly male, women are increasingly able to claim legitimacy thanks to their flexible approach.

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