Built between 1916 and 1924, the Mosque of Diourbel follows the Ottoman style with a large central dome over a square prayer hall with minarets in each of the four corners rather than the columned hall with a single miraret in the Maghreb tradition. It has been suggested that this was a symbolic protest against the French who were at war with the Ottoman Empire during the First World War (Babou 257). It has also been argued that that this simply reflects an increase in Islamic consciousness; earlier mosques in Goree, Saint-Louis and Blanchot were built in what Cleo Cantone calls the "colonial mosque" style blending influences from the Christian churches which preceded them in those communities with the style of more traditional mosques (117). The fact that France issued stamps depicting the Mosque of Diourbel in its definitive issues of 1935-1940 and again in the unissued Vichy set of 1941 reflects efforts dating back to the early part of the century to co-opt Islamic leadership into the colonial system. Cheikh Amadou Bamba, the founder of Senegal's Sufi Mouride sect, had been sent into exile in Gabon in for almost eight years beginning in 1895 because of his religious beliefs. His exile continued with almost five years in Mauritania before he was allowed to return to Senegal. Despite years of persecution by colonial authorities, Bamba was awarded the French Legion of Honour in 1918 for encouraging his followers to serve in the French war effort. Recognizing that the Mouride order promoted a good work ethic and promoted economic development, France encouraged Bamba's efforts in the years before his death in 1927.
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