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Northwestern Professor Named Carnegie Scholar

April 22, 2008 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill.— Muhammad S. Umar, associate professor of religion and African studies and director of the Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa at Northwestern University, has been named one of 20 Carnegie Scholars for 2008.

For the fourth year the Carnegie Corporation of New York chose its scholars for their ideas and commitment to enriching the public dialogue on Islam. Umar's proposal was titled "Pragmatism and Pluralism in the Traditional Islamic Thought of al-Shaykh Ibrahim Saleh of Nigeria." He intends to analyze the writings of Saleh, a contemporary Nigerian public intellectual who articulates classical traditions of Islamic learning to support pragmatic solutions on topical issues such as pluralism and peaceful coexistence.

The Carnegie Corporation will provide Umar two years of funding for his research. Umar expects that the book that he will write will provide an opportunity for fruitful dialogue on Islam among Nigerians.

Umar joined the Northwestern faculty this academic year. His research interests include Islam and colonialism in West Africa, Islamic law, Sufism/anti-Sufism in West Africa, contemporary Islamic thought and liberalism, Islamic intellectual traditions of West Africa and the theory and methodology of academic study of religion.
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