In the early colonial period the frontier towns of Kayes and Medine on the Upper Senegal River were home to a community of Muslim originaires of the four communes of Senegal. The 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. But while their appeals to the colonial administration were successful in 1905, a 1912 revision of the legal system took away their privilege and made Muslim originaires constituents of native courts. The article provides context for understanding the Muslims' protests, as well as the administration's changing attitudes towards them. Whereas much of the literature on the originaires has focused on their status as assimilated Africans with voting rights, this article calls attention to their identity as Muslims.