When Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacké was placed under house arrest in Diourbel, in 1912, the town was emerging as a center of colonial administration and commerce. For the next 15 years the sheikh occupied a large compound on the eastern outskirts of the town. This compound is still called Kër-gu Mak, “Great House,” or “House of the Master.” Kër-gu Mak became the nucleus of an entire neighborhood, which Ahmadou Bamba himself named Boukhatoul Moubaraka. During WWI Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba had a Great Mosque built on the square facing his compound. This was the first mosque built by the Mourides, before work was begun in Touba, and it was built in the Ottoman fashion, with a central dome and four corner minarets. Boukhatoul Moubaraka, with Kër-gu Mak and the Mosque, has a strong Mouride identity and makes Diourbel (population approximately 100,000 and capital of an administrative region) a major Mouride urban center.
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