Mbaye Lo

Mbaye Lo

Associate Professor of the Practice of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

External address: 
2204 Erwin Road Room 231, Box 90414, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90414, Durham, NC 27708-0414
(919) 660-4356
Office Hours: 
Monday & Wednesday 2-5 pm

I work primarily on Arabic discourse with a sub-specialization in the sociology of Islam, Islamic militancy, theories of civil society, in addition to the development of Arabic language and culture in Africa, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) & oral proficiency-based language teaching and testing. My scholarly interests are intertwined with my teaching. My teaching drives my desire to know, explore and engage. My research informs my approach to teaching and commitment to my students, colleagues and communities. As a recipient of Duke Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2009, I am passionate for both teaching and scholarly engagement on global level.

My interdisciplinary background, in both the humanities and social sciences, places my work on the intersection between language, society and religion. The intersection between language (Arabic) and religion (Islam) in modern Muslim societies stimulates my interest in militant Islam and modern governance. These intertwined concepts are the focus of my last three English books—Understanding the Muslim Discourse: Language, Tradition and the Message of Bin Laden (2009), Re-inventing Civil Society-Based Governance In Africa (2010) and Muslim Institutions of Higher Education in Postcolonial Africa (2015).

I am currently working on three projects:

Justice Versus Freedom. This book project analyzes the global conflict with militant Islam as manifested in two divergent visions of human values. There is the Islamist justice project and the neo-liberal freedom agenda. Militant Islam draws on the just cause argument to demarcate the lines of its ideological philosophy, while the neoliberal world dominated by the US brandishes defense of freedom in marshaling its forces against militant Islam. This binary difference exhibits itself loudly in the political language of militant Islam and is reflected in the practices of Islamist parties when they ascend to power, as witnessed most recently in Tunisia, Egypt and the Sudan. The project's goal is to provide a thought-provoking account of the root cause of the problematic political relationship facing the Western and the Islamic worlds today.

The Life and Works of Cheikh Moussa Kamara (1864-1945). Kamara writes exclusively in Arabic, and his work highlights aspects of jihad’s nonviolence intellectual traditions in Africa. I am analyzing his treatises and particularly his treatise against Jihad, Aktharu al-Raghibeen Fee al Jihad. You can read more on this project in the following link.

The Arabic Classroom: Context, Text and Students. (Edited volume of conference papers).


Areas of research include the sociology of Islam, theories of civil society, the development of Arabic language, literature and culture in Africa, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) & oral proficiency-based language teaching and testing.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Cleveland State University 2006

  • M.A., Cleveland State University 1999

Muslim Institutions of Higher Education in Postcolonial Africa. Ed. M Lo and M Haron. Palgrave Macmillan, November 2015. (Edited Book)

Lo, MB. Amrika: al-Islam wa al-Sudan: Qiraat fi Ghayahib al-Fikr al-Siyasi al-Hadith (America, Islam and Sudan: Readings in the Darkness of Modern Political Thought). Cairo & Khartoum: Arab and African Research Center & Center for the Studies of Islam and Contemporary Muslim World, 2011.

Lo, M. Muslims in America: Race, Politics and Community Building. Beltsville, MD: Amana Publications, 2004.

Lo, M. Arabic Language and Literary Themes in the African Literature. Cairo: Arab and African Research Center, 2001.

Lo, M. The intricacy of Power Transfer in Africa: Nigeria, a Case Study. Khartoum: International University of Africa, University Press, 1998.

Ahmed, AAA, and Lo, M. "The International University of Africa, Sudan: Its History, Mission, and Dissertations." Muslim Institutions of Higher Education in Postcolonial Africa. January 26, 2016. 211-220. Full Text

Moussa, AY, and Lo, M. "King Faisal University in Chad: Challenges, Opportunities, and Future Prospects." Muslim Institutions of Higher Education in Postcolonial Africa. January 26, 2016. 157-177. Full Text

Lo, M. "The Islamic University of Niger from Lahore, Pakistan, to Say, Niger: The Challenge of Establishing a Transnational Islamic University." Muslim Institutions of Higher Education in Postcolonial Africa. January 26, 2016. 265-281. Full Text

Lo, M. "Islam and the idea of the “African university”: An analytical framework." Muslim Institutions of Higher Education in Postcolonial Africa. January 1, 2016. 13-39. Full Text

Lo, MB. "The Role of Religion and Religious Teachings in Al-Qaeda." Religion and Terrorism: The Use of Violence in Abrahamic Monotheism. Ed. V Ward and R Sherlock. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014. 171-201.

Lo, M. "The Evolution of Arabic Literature in West Africa." Afro-Arab Selections for Social Sciences. Cairo, Egypt, January 2009. 171-178. (Chapter)

Lo, M. "Remembering the Arab Spring: Perspectives and Reflections." Siyasah Dualiyyah (Journal of International Politics) (February 2015).

Lo, M. "Beyond Duality, for Plurality." The Immanent Frame (July 2014).

Lo, M. "Egypt and the Elusiveness of Shar’iyyah." The Immanent Frame (April 23, 2014).

Lo, M, and Frkovich, A. "Challenging authority in cyberspace: Evaluating Al Jazeera Arabic writers." Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 25.3 (January 1, 2013): 388-402. Full Text

Lo, M. "Egypt at the Crossroads." The Immanent Frame (July 16, 2012).

Lo, MB, and Nadhiri, A. "Contextualizing "Muridiyyah" within the American muslim community: Perspectives on the past, present and future." African Journal of Political Science and International Relations 4.6 (June 2010): 231-240.

Lo, MB, and 2009, TAT. "Muslim Marriage Goes Online: The Use of Internet Match-making by American Muslims." Journal of Religion and Popular Culture. 21.3 (2009).

Lo, MB. "Eavesdropping on Civil Society Associations in Senegal." Dirasaat Ifrikiyyah Journal 3 (December 2007).


Lo, M. "Muslim University Models in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunitie." Muslim Education Reform. April 18, 2016 - April 19, 2016. Istanbul University.

Lo, MB. International Uni of Africa, Khartoum. International University of African Press, December 2011.

Lo, MB. Reforming Higher Education in Africa: the Case of IUA. Khartoum: International University of African Press, 2011.

Lo, M. "The Last Scholar: Cheikh Moussa Kamara and the Condemnation of Jihad by the Sword." ISLAMiCommentary (April 19, 2016). (Scholarly Commentary)

Lo, M. "The West’s Freedom Problem and the Roots of Islamic Militancy." IslamiCommentary (February 9, 2016). (Scholarly Commentary)

Lo, M. "The Rise of the Islamic State and How to Reverse It." Small Wars Journal (November 2014). (Scholarly Commentary)

Lo, M. "Islamic Radicalism and the End of time." al Arabiyya Institute of Studies (August 10, 2014). (Scholarly Commentary)

Lo, M. "Mandela’s Dilemma: Western Politics, Native’s Ethics." The Herald-Sun (December 20, 2013). (Scholarly Commentary)

Lo, MB. "Mandela’s Dilemma: Western Politics, Native’s Ethics." al Arabiyya Institute of Studies (December 18, 2013). (Scholarly Commentary)

Lo, MB. "Morsi, the Last Muslim Caliph of Egypt." (July 28, 2013). (Scholarly Commentary)

Lo, M. "The Arab Revolution Within the Twenty-First Century Revolutions." al Arabiyya Institute of Studies (April 6, 2013). (Scholarly Commentary)

Lo, MB. "The Arab Revolution in World Revolutions." Al Arabiyya (April 2013).

Lo, MB. "Mali: Between the ’Curse of Jefferson’ and the ’Spirit of Timbuktu'." Mondoweiss (February 14, 2013). (Scholarly Commentary)



al-lisaan al-Arabi site. Creator. (2011)


Helping learners develop proficiency in FusHa Arabic.