•France’s oldest mosque gets facelift
SENEGAL’S influential Mouride Brotherhood will today inaugurate a 30,000-capacity mosque in the capital, Dakar, touted as the largest in West Africa and rivaling its opulent peers in Arab nations.
According to Daily Mail, work on the Massalikul Jinaan (‘The Paths to Paradise’) mosque began a decade ago on a swampy six-hectare (14-acre) site in the poor area of Bopp, on land donated by the government of the 90-percent Muslim nation.
The name is derived from the title of a poem by Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacke, the 19th-century founder of the Brotherhood, who is revered by followers as a Sufi saint.
Headquartered in the city of Touba, where Bamba is entombed, the movement is a pillar of Senegal’s reputation for religious tolerance.
The Mouride philosophy – the name derives from the Arabic word for ‘one who desires to learn’ – preaches service to humanity in addition to upholding the principles of Islam.
The movement also wields considerable economic and political clout in Senegal and in neighbouring Gambia.