May 30, 2010

Touba

Touba is the center of Muridism, one of the four prominent Islamic brotherhoods in Sénégal.  The founder of Muridism, Cheikh Amadou Bamba, lived in the 19th Century.  The grand mosque in Touba is a replica of the one in Mecca and is the destination of an annual pilgrimage that, for followers of Bamba, replaces the required pilgrimage to Mecca.  It is faced with marble from Portugal and Italy and is elaborately decorated inside.

We were able to arrange a field trip to Touba, a first for SST in Sénégal, that included an audience with a marabout (religious leader), Serigne Bassirou Abdoul  Khadre, who is the spokesperson for the current grand marabout.  He welcomed us warmly and gave us permission to visit their extensive library as well as the mosque itself.  He also presented us with several copies of a recently published book on the history of Touba and its mosque.

The librarian told us about their collection and the history of Muridism. He wanted us to know that they strive for peaceful coexistence with Christians and other faiths.  We responded that our college, and the SST program in particular, strive for intercultural understanding that also contributes to a more peaceful world.

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