Documentaries

Islamism in Africa
The rise of Islamism in Africa may threaten to further destabilize an already fragile continent.

The recent attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi underscored the dangers posed by extremist groups in Libya. But these risks extend beyond Libya, with the rise of jihadist organizations like al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Ansar Dine, and Boko Haram. This month America Abroad takes listeners to Mali, Nigeria, Libya and Kenya to explore Islamism in Africa.

David Ottaway, senior scholar at the Wilson Center, and Bruce Riedel, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, explain the history of al Qaeda's expansion in the Middle East and Africa through the establishment of local affiliates.
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Reza Jan of the American Enterprise Institute speaks with host Tess Vigeland about the rise of armed groups in Libya since the fall of Qaddafi – including those suspected of attacking the US consulate in Benghazi.
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Sam Olukoya reports from Nigeria, where the indigenous extremist group Boko Haram continues to gain strength, and may have established ties with al Qaeda.
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In northern Mali, Islamist groups have implemented strict Sharia law, causing thousands to flee south to the capital of Bamako. But Malians are slowly beginning to return north, encouraged by better job prospects and a cheaper cost of living. Katarina Höije reports.
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Reporter Hilary Heuler takes us to Mombasa, Kenya, where a Muslim secessionist group with ties to Somalia's al Shabaab has sparked violence that could threaten Kenya’s upcoming elections.
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Host Tess Vigeland and Michael Shurkin of RAND discuss the complex relationship in northern Mali between Islamists, government forces and the Tuareg rebel group.
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Video Extra

Learn why some Malians are returning to the north where Islamist groups have implemented strict Sharia law in this video by Katarina Höije and Sébastien Rieussec for America Abroad.

Featured Experts

Bruce Riedel
Bruce Riedel is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy. He was a senior advisor on South Asia and the Middle East to the last four presidents of the United States in the staff of the National Security Council at the White House.
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David Ottaway
David Ottaway is a senior scholar at the Wilson Center for International Scholars, where he focuses on North Africa and the Middle East. He worked 35 years for The Washington Post as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, Africa and Southern Europe.
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Michael Shurkin
Michael Shurkin is a political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He previously worked in the Intelligence Community, where he served as a political analyst, first with African accounts and then South Asia.
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Reza Jan
Reza Jan is an Analyst for the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute. He studies potential threats to American security around the globe.
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Islamism in Africa / Produced by Hilary Heuler, Katarina Höije, Sam Olukoya, Martha Little and A.C. Valdez, with additional production by Flawn Williams/ Web Producer: Philippa Levenberg / Images courtesy of Adama Diarra, Tony Onwuemene, Mohammad Hannon/AP and huguesn via Flickr Creative Commons.

Host: Tess Vigeland / Length: 51 minutes / Airdate: December 2012

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Documentaries

Documentaries

America Abroad is an award-winning documentary radio program distributed by Public Radio International (PRI) and broadcast on public radio stations nationwide. Each month, we take an in-depth look at one critical issue in international affairs and U.S. foreign policy.

Anchored by public radio host Madeleine Brand, this monthly program covers global issues ranging from the challenges in Iran and North Korea, to the European debt crisis and the roots of the Arab Spring.

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