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II. Islamism and the Secular State: the origin of Senegalese Muslim divides

The difficulty for Islam and democracy to coexist in Muslim countries is historical. In his book[i], Euben et al. trace this conflictual relationship back to the colonial period which saw the introduction of a modern state into African majority-Muslim territories. Rooted in the Western model of democracy, the modern secular state established political structures that deemphasized Islamic political principles and ignored local Muslim traditions. Subsequently, different Islamist movements were initiated, not forcibly in the form of jihad, but were reactionary vis-à-vis not only the colonial state, but also the Post-independence state that perpetuated the same secular politics. In my theoretical approach, I identify three waves of political Islam: radical Islamism, moderate Islamism, and what I believe is appropriate to call “Islamized politics.” While the two first are common in many Muslim-majority countries, the third remain typically Senegalese. Although the patterns of these waves of Islamism differ from a country to another, their general description helps understand the evolution of the politics-religion nexus in the Senegalese political history.
Apart from the Muridiyya and Laayen Sufi orders, all other Sufi Muslim Brotherhoods in Senegal trace their origins back to the Maghreb. Even the early history of radical Islamism in the Senegambia has Moroccan origins. Before embarking in his “fiyande diine” (Jihadism in Pulaar), Al-hajj Umar Taal's (1796 - 1864) pilgrimage to Mecca in 1820 occasioned his acquaintance with Muhammad al-Ghali, one of Shaykh Ahmad Tijan’s prominent Moroccan disciples. The latter not only initiated the Fulany shaykh in Tijaniyya, but also authorized him to expand Islam and the Tijani order to Africa (Mbacké; Robinson). Like Qadiriyya, the Umarian Islamism developed in the form of Imamate and Caliphate, which enforced Islamic political administration under the rule of Imams and Caliphs. This political pattern deeply characterized the regions of Fuuta Tooro (in Nothern Senegal) and Fuuta Jalon (in North-western Guinea Conakry), and even beyond. The emergence of Tijaniyya and its early jihad created the first divide within Senegalese Muslim community. Not only a second tariqa was born (the first being Qadiriyya), but remarkably a tendency peaceful Islam vs. violent Islam appeared. This Muslim divides continued each time a new tariqa emerged in the country.

A brief History of Tijaniyya in Senegal from Jihadist Al-Hajj Umar Tall to Al-Hajj Malick Sy

With the advent of colonial forces, however, the Umarian Islamism and tariqa was tamed into a passive Islamism. At this point, Senegalese Islam became progressively incorporated with cultural elements, which led into what Paul Marty exaggeratedly called “vagabondage Islamic”[ii] ("Islamic wanderings"). Marty’s orientalist vision of the Senegalese Murid tariqas is certainly caused by his misunderstanding of the cultural rituals that underlie the essence of Sufism in Senegal. Apparently Marty's statement attempts to describes the degree of openness that characterize the Senegalese religious institutions. An openness that grew even larger in the late colonial period, making it easier for politics to join in religious organizations. At the same time, a new wave of Islamism, inspired from North African Islamists, developed in order to promote a return to “pristine” Islam.
This triggered the emergence of modern radical Islamist movements that opposed both the secular state and the politicized Muslim Brotherhoods (Diouf & Leichtman, 2009; Loimeier, 2003). Radical Islamism in Senegal operated through the establishment of reformist movements the first of which was the 1953 Union Culturelle Musulmane (UCM) aka al-Ittihad ath-Thaqafi al-Islami (ITI). UCM was founded by Cheikh Touré (1925-2005) whose Islamist thinking, largely inspired from Maghrebian Islamists, influenced other Islamist movements that emerged in Post-independence Senegal. Like other Islamist movement that later emerged in the 1970s , Touré’s UCM militated for a return to pure Islamic culture. This mostly consisted of advocating forMuslim norms, customs and rites as well as, in particular, Islamic personal law” (Loimeier, 242). This makes Touré’s campaign similar to Islamism as expressed in famous North African thinkers.
Although non-violent compared to the early North African Islamist discourse, Touré’s radicalism emanated from his strict stance against the Western cultures and models”. “He [Touré] and his group championed a critical position against the French colonial administration and the Sufi brotherhoods and their religious leaders (marabout) who cooperated with it” (Reetz, 10). As such, UCM deeply opposed the secular politics as imposed by the colonial power and the local shaykhs and Caliphs-Generals whose support had been crucial to stabilizing colonial administration. Touré’s radicalism began to echo North African Islamists’ discourses following his important stays in Mauritania and Algeria respectively in 1944 and 1952. In Mauritania, a scholar named Mukhtar Uld Hamidoun introduced Touré to “Muhammad ‘Abduh[‘s] and other Salafi thinkers[’]” thoughts (Lomeier, 243). At the Algerian Centre Bin Baddis, “he was able to witness the efforts of the Algerian Jamiyyat al- 'Ulama' al-Muslimin al-Jazz'iriyyin to reform Algerian society” (Ibid.).  Touré’s introduction to Muhammad Abduh’s thoughts draw him very close to other Maghrebian Islamists such as the Egyptians Hasan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb both of whose Islamic radicalism manifested mostly through “anti-Westernism”.
        Developing on the Islamist thought, Euben and Zaman present the Egyptian Islamist Hasan al-Banna (1906 -1949) as among the first Islamists who fervently opposed the secular state. His 1928 foundation of the Muslim brotherhood remained the biggest step in the Egyptian Islamist struggle. Through al-Banna’s writings, the major advocacies of the Egyptian Muslim brotherhood present “a narrative of history in which Western ascendance is characterized as the triumph of and a vehicle for materialism and moral bankruptcy.” (Euben & Zaman, 52). Thus, al-Banna develops an Islamist thinking that fundamentally aims at relating modern sociopolitical illnesses to the colonial invasion of the Western culture. Similarly, the primary motivation of Touré in founding UCM emanated from a reformist call to divorce with western culture. Later, almost all the reformist movements, which largely inspired from Cheikh Touré, adopted the same path and fought “…for public recognition of distinctive Muslim norms, customs, and rites as well as Islamic personal law” (Diouf & Leichtman, 204). However, this Senegalese radical form of Islamist was short-lived for its leading scholars’ “modus vivendi” with the colonial administration impeached its strict ideological development. The subsequent politicization of the organization into Fédération des Associations Islamiques du Sénégal (FAIS) under Senghor’s regime completely de-radicalized its Islamist militancy.
            Only in the 1970s did a free reformist movement emerge under the ideological influence of Cheikh Touré: the Jama’ al- Ibadu Rahman (JIR) or Harakat al-Fatah (HF). The Ibadu Rahman, as commonly referred to in Senegal, worked with an agenda that non-violently calls for the return to Islamic fundamentalism as represented by Hasan al-Banna. They perceive Allah and the Qur’an as the sole cure for Senegalese political instability and regard the tariqas as the manifestations of bid’a[1] (see Loieimier’s article). Writing on this radicalism, Loimeier notes, “…the JIR was strongly influenced  by  the  Iranian  revolution and established contacts with a number of 'Northern' Muslim countries  as  well  as  reformist  organisations  of  Saudi Arabian as  well  as Libyan and Egyptian” (pp. 244). This demonstrates the Ibadu Rahmans’ engagement in the Muslim World, which highlights a high cultivation of “pure” Islamic culture in their agenda.  
             Like the Egyptian al-Banna and Touré, JIR’s ideological position refuses to embrace Western concepts and presupposes the primacy of Islamic fundamentalism over any other political or social institution. In posing Islamic law as sine-qua-non conditions for the existence of a state, radical Islamist such al-Banna undermine both the individual freedoms of Muslim citizens (for there is no politically active Muslim civil society) and the individual freedoms as well as collective freedoms of non-Muslims (for collectively, they have no say as non-Muslims and individually the Islamicized “public order” does not consider them at all). This lack of political and social pluralism, which remains intrinsic to the radical Islamist thought, is the first and capital element that illegitimizes democracy in such Islamist conception of state.
         Consequently, it becomes quite impossible for a fundamentally radical Islamism to conceptualize a modern Islamic state that would be viable for non-Muslims as well. Although, Cheikh Touré was not as much radical as Banna, his conception of a Senegalese Islamic state would be perfect without democratic systems which are Western concepts and models. The building of such Islamic state had very few chances to succeed in the late colonial and early independence time. Touré’s biggest challenge was that the Senegalese major tariqas, which brought and spread Islam in the country, were so deeply rooted in a religious system which, with the course of time, had accommodated and supported a secular state in the course of time. This imposed radical Islamists to negotiate their existence with the powerful Muslim Brotherhoods whose social and political influence had been constant. The failure for Senegalese Islamists groups such as JIR to gain popularity caused them to change agendas and to look towards different strategies, which did not forcibly de-radicalize JIR’s but pulled it towards a moderate Islamism just as the failure of Egyptian radical Islamist led to the emergence of the Wasatiyyah movement in the 1980s (see Scott ,2010).
Abdoulaye Wade (ex-President) with the former Muridiyya Caliph  General (1915-2007)
While in Egypt the wasatiyya movement castigated the radical Islamists’ discriminatory perception of the Egyptian citizenship based ondhimma, in Senegal the JIR ceased to attack the the Sufi tariqas in order to focus on Islamic education (Qur’an and Arabic teaching). The Wasatiyya moderate believed that “the Western nationalist experiment has failed and that combination of inclusive nationalist ideas with Islam is the answer for Egypt’s political community” (scot, 58). As such, the wasatiyya moderates propose a hybrid system that attempts to cater for both democratic and Islamist needs. In Senegal, thoughr, this form of moderate Islamism occurred long time ago since the beginning of the French occupation which ended the jihadist movements. The subsequent moderation is embedded by the Muslim Brotherhoods whose spiritual leaders not only accommodated colonial administration progressively, but also involved indirectly in politics.
This caused the tariqas to remain more politicized than Islamist. As a result , the secular state empowered to the detriments of the short-lived Islamist ambitions. In the Senghor era, for instance, some grands-marabouts (including Caliphs-Generals and shaykhs) objected to the implementation of non-Islamic laws in the Senegalese Code de la Famille, but never did they succeeded in stopping the ex-President’s un-Islamic constitutional aspirations (see Loimeier). Similar cases occurred and re-occurred many times in Senegal, and finally the tariqas seem to have resigned from checking on the legal procedures of the secular state. It must be recognized, though, that this “disengagement” of the tariqas in direct politics has facilitated the survival of Senegalese (semi-)democracy since independence, mostly by disregarding the consolidation of a secular state.
Ironically, however, the phenomenon of political ndigël, which is consequent to the development of political patron-client relations, becomes a serious threat to electoral democracy. The attitude of the submissive taalibes-voters regarding the political choice of the spiritual guide (see Villalón (1995), Chap. 4), ended up becoming a systematic way of “revoking” the citizen-taalibes’ rights to vote. In fact, the vote of the taalibe manifests an act of submission to the shaykh or Caliph-General whose religious function become merged with his political orientations. In the course of time, the religious leaders’ interest in politics grew progressively. Few decades after the failure of the first Islamist party (1953), “factions” within some tariqas emerged only to become official political parties, which subsequently caused the emergence the third wave of political Islam: “Islamized politics.”
“Islamized politics,” as I decide to call it, may not forcibly be the usual Islamism which tends to be associated with the struggles to Islamize the state. Rather, I use the expression Islamized politics to designate the instrumentalization of Islam (or Islamic structures) in order to reach secular ends (wealth, political power, etc). In the particular context of Senegal, this applies to the politicized Sufi Brotherhoods (tariqas) whose relation to politics has created a new form of political Islam, but which extends beyond moderate Islamism. It is the attempt to distinguish the two dimensions of moderateness and secularity that necessitates the use of the expression “Islamized politics.” Although Islamized politics in Senegal occurs in a sphere of moderate Islamism, the specificity of Islamized politics is that Islamic structures (tariqas or “factions” within them) represent the fundamental basis for a religious leader’s political career to exist.
Furthermore, Islamized politics supposes that the religious leader (who, either serves as political client to a given political party or decides to create his own political party to run) draws his popularity primarily from his religious charisma without which any involvement in politics would be even unthinkable. That Islam is here used as a foundation for politics causes the need to Islamized politics from other forms political Islam whose political engagement may not forcibly be the result of a religious charisma. Thus, most of the shaykhs who create “religious factions” within the tariqa only to create a political party and run for elections are Islamized politicians because their electoral basis is fundamentally Islamic although the political motivations are not forcibly Islamist.
In sum, these three different waves of political Islam that occurred in different ways have contributed to the establishment of distinct groups within the tariqa-dominated Senegalese Muslim community. Beginning with colonial occupation, this division increased with the subsequent politicization of the major tariqas some of whose spiritual leaders later engaged in “Islamized politics.”  .

Post-Muhammad innovations that some believe are un-Islamic. They are very common to the Senegalese tariqas and to Sufi orders in general. 

Ahmed Rashid. (2010). The Challenges of Political Islam: Non-Muslims and the Egyptian State. Stanford University Press.
From Donald B. (1971). Cruise O’Brian. The Mourides of Senegal: The Political and Economic Organization of an Islamic Brotherhood. Calendron Press, Oxford. (p. 81).