The kind of violent anti-U.S. and anti-Western demonstrations that spread across the
Middle East and South Asia in the weeks following the September 11 protests at the
United States Embassy in Cairo have failed to materialize in Muslim population centers
in sub-Saharan Africa, even in those countries most deeply divided by religious violence.
Protests in Paris, London, Dortmund, and Sydney all outnumbered even the largest ones
in sub-Saharan Africa. With the exception of Sudan, no protests in sub-Saharan Africa
resulted in fatalities of either protestors or police. Some property damage was reported in
Nigeria and Niger, but Boko Haram and other extremist groups were notably absent from
the protests.1 A country-by-country survey of responses is presented in the Annex.
This analysis focuses on the sub-Saharan “belt of instability” that stretches across
the middle of the continent from Mauritania in the west to Somalia on the Horn of Africa.