Written by NEWS DESK Wednesday, 03 June 2009 16:21 The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has released a 332-pages book that details the contribution of Islam to civilization and culture in eastern Africa. Titled Islamic Civilisation in Eastern Africa, the book is a collection of 21 papers written by eminent scholars in history, political science, sociology, literature and Islam. They include Prof. Ali A. Mazrui. The book published in Turkey, under the supervision of OIC Secretary General, Prof Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, focuses on Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Rwanda, Eastern Congo, the Comoros, South Africa, Yemen and Oman. The 21 articles were presented at an international symposium in Kampala, between December 15 and 17 2003. The symposium was jointly organised by Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), Istanbul, Turkey and the Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU). The articles were edited by Prof. Abdu B. K. Kasozi, Executive Director of the National Council for Higher Education and Dr. Halit Eren director of IRCICA. In his article Africa and Islamic Civilisation: The East African Experience which forms chapter one of the book, Prof. Mazrui raises the possibility of Africa merging with the Middle East at one time in history because of the influence of Islam. By far, the most ambitious idea of floating in the new era of Afro-Islamic speculation is whether the whole of the Arab world are two regions in the process of merging into one. Out of this speculative discourse has emerged the concept of Afrabia. Eastern Africa has been the starting point of a gradual merger between Africa and the Middle East. Sudan, Somalia and the Swahili coast have been the vanguard, writes Mazrui. Some of the contributions of Islam to culture and civiliasation, Mazrui says, include gender empowerment and calendar, clock and alphabet. He says that indigenous cultures in East Africa gave more roles to women than Islam did, while Islam gave more rights to women than indigenous culture had. Other contributors include; Dr. Fatima Adam (Nigeria), Prof. Hussein Ahmed (Ethiopia), Dr. Ahmad Kawesa Sengendo (Rector IUIU) and Associate Prof. Ibrahim al-Zein Soghayroun (Muscat). The book is yet to hit the market in Uganda but copies for reading are available at all campuses of the Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU).