Bori practice among enslaved West Africans of Ottoman Tunis: Unbelief (Kufr) or another dimension of the African diaspora?
Montana, Ismael M.
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Building on Ahmad ibn Yusuf b. al-Qadi al-Timbuktawi's treatise entitled Hatk al-Sitr Amma Alayhi Sudani Tunis min al-Kufr (Piercing the Veil: Being an Account of the Infidel Religions of the Blacks of Tunis) this paper examines the implications of the Hausa non-Muslim Bori cult practice in Ottoman Tunis on enslaved West Africans' retentions of religious and family values from their original homelands. Specifically, the paper traces and analyses the evolution of Bori cult practice in the Tunisian milieu and places it in its proper historical and diasporic contexts. To this end, the paper goes beyond questions that are not central to al-Timbuktawi's condemnation of the enslaved West African community of Tunis, but which nonetheless attracts the attention of scholars interested in the diasporic and historical significance of Bori cult practice in the Maghreb.