Being Senegalese, Sufi, Black, and French
Gina Gertrud Smith
(University of Copenhagen)
West African Muslims in France seem to be associated with a black rather than a Muslim 'ethnicity'. They are at the margins of Islam in France. Almost all Senegalese are Muslims, adhering to a Sufi order. The earliest and most significant group of migrants in France belongs to the Tijaniyya order. A branch of the order has adapted their 'village Sufism' and the tradition of a yearly gathering in Senegal to the migrant situation. Since 1994 a five days equivalent of this Senegalese male 'retreat' has been established in Mantes-la-Jolie west of Paris. Here some 5000 migrants meet their Sufi Shaykh in a French urban context. It is an outstanding event among the visits to France of shaykhs belonging to Tijaniyya or Muridiyya, the other large order in Senegal. This paper will analyse the gathering in Mantes-la-Jolie and debate the social and religious significance for the Tijane migrants in France.
At the margins of Islam in Europe