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France as a Muslim Power in West Africa

David Robinson
Africa Today
Vol. 46, No. 3/4, Islam in Africa (Summer - Autumn, 1999), pp. 105-127
Published by: Indiana University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4187286
Page Count: 23
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France as a Muslim Power in West Africa
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Abstract

France became a "Muslim power," in the sense of an imperial nation with Muslim subjects, over the course of the nineteenth century. This practice and policy first emerged in Algeria, and from the mid-nineteenth century it was also deployed in Senegal and Mauritania, the initial core of French West Africa. The process of conquering the bidan, or "whites," of Mauritania, an Arabic-speaking nomadic people with a strong sense of racial superiority over the sudan, or "blacks," of Senegal, and the competition with Morocco over claims to the Sahara encouraged the development of this policy, which was codified in the early twentieth century through the concepts of Islam maure and Islam noir, concepts which remain influential today.

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