The Role of Religious Ritual as a Symbol to Nurture Tolerance and Unity

By: Lamin Keita  

This project involves discovering how Muslim religious groups in Senegal, West Africa use religious symbols in the form of rituals to consolidate their faith and foster tolerance within their communities. The Magal of Touba (annual religious ceremony of the Senegalese Mouride Brotherhood of Bamba), is a form of representation of these religious symbols that are used by the followers of Bamba to pay respects and submissions to him at the same time instil tolerance among the community and other Christian denominations in the country. The goal is to show that their religious symbols are a perfect representation of their actions that are antithetical to violence like religious extremism and other forms of religious conflicts. This research examines Muslim religious groups in Senegal such as Tijaniyya Sufi order, Khadriya, Mouride brotherhood and Malay. Upon examination of these groups, it becomes clear that each of these Muslim groups attempted to use a specific kind of religious symbols such as dress codes, citing speeches that symbolize claims from their founding fathers and special rituals to bolster their influence among the society. This research highlights the importance of the religious symbols in shaping the actions of not only the four different Muslim religious groups mentioned, but as well as the Christians and none-Christians to live in peaceful coexistence in Senegal.

Rituals, Magal, Mouride Brotherhood, Tijaniyya Sufi Order, Khadriya
2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Lamin Keita

Ph.D. student and Teaching Assistance , Department of Political Science , Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA., United States
IL, United States