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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Imperialism, Independence, and Islam in Senegal and Mali
Author:Clark, Andrew F.
Periodical:Africa Today
Geographic terms:West Africa
Subjects:Muslim brotherhoods
Church and State
Politics and Government
Religion and Witchcraft
international relations
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/africa_today/v046/46.3clark.pdf
Abstract:Pragmatism and cooperation have characterized relations between religious and secular leaders in the regions of modern Senegal and Mali from early colonial times to the present. Treating Senegal as an exceptional case of religious and political cooperation is misleading. Moreover, the ties of accommodation can be traced back to the nineteenth century. From early colonial times, the French realized that their regime could benefit by seeking the public support of the marabouts, or leaders, of the Muslim orders or brotherhoods. The brotherhood leadership likewise accepted the inevitability of secular rule. Early confrontations were replaced by mutual acceptance and cooperation. The process has been shaped most significantly by the series of Muslim religious leaders and their descendants who have headed the orders. The leadership of these brotherhoods, especially the Tijaniyya in Senegal and Mali and the Murides in Senegal, continue to wield enormous powers. Islam has historically served in Mali and especially in Senegal as an ideology, a basis for social organization and a vehicle for mediation and negotiation between a weak State and a predominantly Muslim society. The rise of radical Islamic reform movements does not pose a serious or immediate threat to either government or the traditional brotherhoods, and as long as the interests of the two sides converge, the pragmatic and rational cooperation between Islam and the State will continue in both Senegal and Mali. Bibliogr., sum.