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A West African Sufi Master on the Global Stage: Cheikh Abdoulaye Dièye and the Khidmatul Khadim International Sufi School in France and the United States

In: African Diaspora
Author:
Cheikh A. BabouUniversity of Pennsylvania USA, Email: cheikh@sas.upenn.edu

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Abstract

The recent wave of West African Muslim migration to the West started after the Great War and gained momentum in the 1960s. Sub-Saharan Africans have been particularly successful in finding a niche in Europe and North America partly because of the connection between immigrants and centers of Islamic spirituality and knowledge in Africa provided by a dynamic leadership that straddles the three continents. Based on extensive interviews in the United States and in France and on the examination of Murid internal sources and scholarly secondary literature, this article investigates the efforts of the late Sufi sheikh, Abdoulaye Dièye, to expand the Muridiyya Muslim tariqa in France and North America. I am particularly interested in examining the foundations of Dièye’s appeal, his struggle to earn legitimacy and relevance on the global stage, and the response of diverse constituencies to his calling. I contend that the attraction of Dièye’s teachings to Europeans, Americans, and Africans in the diaspora, is rooted in his dual cultural outlook as a Western educated and traditionally trained Murid.

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