This article examines recent developments of Salafism in Côte d’Ivoire by exploring how the movement has evolved over the last 25 years through its main national associations and leaders. Although the situation with regard to terrorism has changed in this country since the attack in Grand-Bassam on 13 March 2016, the intent of this article is to move beyond a reductive focus on security and counterterrorism by painting a more-nuanced portrait of one local manifestation of a global movement often reduced to violence and conflict. Far from becoming radicalized and despite increasing levels of activism, the country’s Salafi elites and main national associations have demonstrated civic engagement and opposition to terrorism. They also increased their participation in the socioeconomic arena as well as their willingness to act as a key intermediary between the Muslim community and the country’s political leadership.
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.