Senegal authorities arrest 7 for suspected extremism ties

By Associated Press
November 7, 2015

DAKAR, Senegal — A Senegalese judge says four imams and three women have been arrested in the West African country for suspected ties to extremism.

Investigating judge Samba Sall said Saturday that he presided over a hearing Friday for the seven charged with criminal conspiracy, money laundering and financing terrorism.

He said the suspects were arrested last month following investigations by Senegalese security forces.

Local media reported that the gendarme investigation shows those arrested have contact with a Nigerian who has ties to the Nigeria-based Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.

The group has killed thousands in its six-year insurgency and now is launching attacks in neighboring countries Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

Violence in Senegal holy city Tivaouane

(AFP) – February 19, 2012

DAKAR — Violence broke out late Friday in Tivaouane, seat of Senegal's largest Islamic brotherhood the Tidiane, where the mayor's office was burned down after police hurled teargas into a Dakar mosque, the APS news agency reported.

Protesters set up burning barricades in streets around Tivaouane in western Senegal after riots erupted in the capital Dakar as police tried to quell a banned demonstration, APS reported Saturday.

Tensions soared when riot police threw three teargas grenades into a Tidiane mosque in the centre of Dakar.

"Everything was destroyed, burned. ... Nothing was saved except the registry office because some youths used themselves as shields to preserve this municipal service," deputy mayor El-Hadj Malick Diop told APS.

He said those responsible were "youths, surely manipulated by politicians who are losing speed."

Diop, a member of President Abdoulaye Wade's ruling party, said opposition youths had tried to vandalise his home, but his neighbours had stepped in.

Senegal is a 95 percent Muslim nation whose citizens follow one of four Sufi brotherhoods including the Tidiane. The west African nation is known for its religious tolerance.

Just days before a presidential election on February 26, tension over Wade's bid to seek a third term in office -- which the opposition says is unconstitutional -- is higher than ever with protesters again expected to take to the streets Saturday.

Police engaged in running battles with protesters for hours on Friday afternoon and evening, firing teargas, rubber bullets and water cannon. At one point a policeman struck by a protester's rock fired his pistol.

The seaside capital was left strewn with debris after protesters erected flaming barricades at street intersections, burned tyres, cardboard and wooden tables used by market women to sell their wares.

Protesters burn church, destroy bar in Senegal

From: AP
June 27, 2011

It was a rare instance of religious extremism in this normally moderate Islamic republic.

Thierno Mbeugne, spokesman for the local imam association, said the head imam in the conservative Yoff district of Dakar had asked the youth to march on Sunday against what they considered as "acts of aggression against their faith".

They were targeting the temple because they claim its members were proselytising, and the bar because it was selling alcohol.

He said the Islamic religious leaders did not endorse the violence, "but they do think that the youth were right" to destroy the church and the bar.

One of the rioters Mame Faye, 24, explained that the mob set upon the temple while churchgoers were praying inside before setting upon the bar.

Other witnesses, however, said that the hundreds of protesters burst into the establishment and began drinking the cans of beer. They then stripped the building, making off with the refrigerator, the air conditioners and the furniture. Then they set it on fire.

A doctor who spoke on the condition of anonymity said his clinic had treated 37 people, including several wounded police officers. One had a stab wound. The police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.


Senegal clashes as archbishop says Christians insulted

(AFP) – Dec 30, 2009

DAKAR — Security forces in Senegal fired tear gas at a crowd hurling rocks on Wednesday, as violence erupted after the archbishop of Dakar accused the president of insulting the country's Christian minority.

Several dozen young people threw stones at security forces Wednesday outside Dakar cathedral, an AFP journalist said, as worshippers leaving the service tried to reason with the angry crowd.

The clashes broke out following a New Year message from cardinal Theodore Adrien Sarr, the archbishop of Dakar, who accused the government in the Muslim majority country of insulting Senegal's Christians.

The archbishop said President Abdoulaye Wade had made "damaging remarks" about Christians.

He added it was "scandalous and intolerable that the divinity of Jesus Christ, heart of our faith, is called into question and ridiculed by the highest authority of the state."

The archbishop was angered by Wade's comments on Monday about Christian churches -- the president said Muslims view churches as places to "pray to someone who is not God."

Christians Fear Expansion of Shari'a

19th August 2003

(Barnabas Fund) -- Christians have reacted with concern to calls for the adoption of elements of shari'a which threaten Senegal's traditional religious toleration and secular constitution.

A group called the Islamic Committee for Family Law Reform have published a plan entitled "Personal Statute Code for Muslims", which has been entirely inspired by shari'a (Islamic law). They wish to see parliament adopt this as the family code for Muslims, but leaving Christians under the existing jurisdiction.

While this seems to be a fairly harmless request, it is likely to be followed by further requests for change until full shari'a has been adopted in Senegal. In March 2000 a French diplomat posted in Dakar commented "Whereas the official Islam under the control of the brotherhoods has always been loyal to the state, a more aggressive Islam generously funded by Libyan and Saudi groups can be seen growing up alongside, which refuses to respect Senegalese secularity… in ten or fifteen years Senegal will become the first Islamic Republic in Black Africa". In the same year, during his inauguration speech, President Abdoulaye Wade vowed to make Senegal 100% Muslim within three years.

Christians in Senegal worry that they may be witnessing the first indications of the creeping growth of shari'a, whose gradual expansion in countries like Pakistan and Nigeria has brought much suffering for religious minorities whose rights and freedoms have been reduced.

Pakistan was created, in the words of founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, with "no discrimination between one caste or creed or another". After Jinnah's death Islamisation of the country began. Within six months an "Objectives Resolution" was passed which assured "principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam shall be fully observed". Later in 1979 shari'a benches in the superior courts were created and in 1980 a Federal Shari'a Court was established. That same year saw Hudood Ordinances being put into effect, i.e. shari'a punishments for theft (amputation) and adultery (stoning) were enforced. In June 2003 full shari'a was finally adopted in the North-West Frontier Province, and it seems as if Baluchistan may follow suit. Having established itself firmly at provincial level, Majlis-i-Amal, the party that has been pushing for full shari'a, now has significant influence at national level.

In Nigeria shari'a has now been adopted by the twelve most northerly predominantly Muslim states. However with this clear Islamisation of the North, some Muslim leaders are now calling for shari'a to be applied (supposedly only to Muslims, though the practice is always different) in other states across the whole nation, even in the predominantly Christian South. Prior to these demands Christians in the South were at least able to reassure themselves that it was an exclusively northern issue. Anti-Western and anti-Christian violence has become increasingly widespread in Nigeria as a result of the tensions provoked by the calls for the adoption of shari'a.

It is noteworthy that recent years have seen several attacks upon Christians and churches in Senegal, a hitherto religiously stable country. A particularly serious attack occurred on 26 May of last year. A Muslim mob led by a local politician stormed a church, drove out the Christians with knives and stones, and then refused to leave the building.


Pray that politicians will be wise as they consider the prospect of a separate family-law code for Muslims.

Pray that Muslims and Christians will continue to live peacefully alongside each other with mutual respect for the others' rights.


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