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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:From Law to Custom: The Shifting Legal Status of Muslim Originaires in Kayes and Medine, 1903-13
Author:Shereikis, Rebecca
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic terms:Mali
Islamic law
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Law, Human Rights and Violence
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3647262
Abstract:In the early colonial period the frontier towns of Kayes and Medine, in present-day Mali, were home to a community of Muslim 'originaires' (inhabitants) of the four communes of Senegal - St Louis, Gorée, Dakar and Rufisque. This article examines this group's efforts to establish and maintain a Muslim tribunal in Kayes, thus preserving a space for their privilege and identity within the French colonial system. Following a decree in 1903 that made the 'originaires' of Kayes and Medine constituents of a French court, they lobbied the colonial administration for the right to have their affairs heard by a Muslim judge. The administration met their demands and established a Muslim tribunal for them in 1905. But this court soon became the site of conflict between members of the court's personnel and the object of repeated administrative interventions. In 1913, in the wake of reform of the federation-wide legal system, the administration closed the doors of the tribunal and made Senegalese Muslims constituents of native courts. The 'originaires' once again appealed to the colonial administration, but this time without success. The article provides context for understanding the Muslims' protests, as well as the administration's changing attitudes towards them. Notes, ref., sum.