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Zahia Smail Salhi

Algerian emir and anticolonialist leader, was born on 6 September 1808 near Mascara in the west of Algeria. His full name was ʿAbd al-Qadir bin Muhieddine; he is known in the Arab east as ʿAbdel-Kader al-Jazaʾiri and in Algeria as al-Amir ʿAbd El-Kader.

His father, Muhieddine al-Hassani, was a Sufi shaykh who followed the Qadiriyya religious order and claimed to be a Hasani (sharif ) descendent of the Prophet with family ties with the Idrisi dynasty of Morocco. As a young boy, ʿAbdel-Kader trained in horsemanship, and from this he developed his love for horses, about which he wrote some beautiful poetry. He was also trained in religious sciences; he memorized the Qurʾan and read in theology and philology. He was also known as a poet who recited classical poetry and wrote his own poetry, mostly centering on war and chivalry.

In 1825 ʿAbdel Kader set out with ...

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Lansana Gberie

Sierra Leone’s third elected President and the first Muslim to become leader of the West African state, was born in Pendembu, Kailahun District, in eastern Sierra Leone, on 16 February 1932. His father, Abu Bakr Sidique Kabbah, was an ethnic Mandingo businessman who had migrated to the predominantly Mende and Kissi town from Kambia District, in northern Sierra Leone. His mother was from a prominent Mende ruling family, the Coomber family of the Mandu chiefdom, Kailahun District. The family later relocated to Freetown, allowing Kabbah, a member of a devout Muslim family, to attend the Catholic St. Edward’s Secondary School in Freetown. Cosmopolitanism and religious tolerance came naturally: Kabbah later married Patricia Tucker, a Catholic who was of the Sherbro/Mende ethnic group.

On completion of secondary school, Kabbah’s father sent him to the University of Wales, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1959 He joined ...