Senegal, a Peaceful Islamic Democracy, Is Jarred by Fears of Militancy

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Muslim eremite leaders in Guédiawaye, Senegal, where dual women were recently arrested, indicted of ties to radical Islamists.

Samuel Aranda for The New York Times

GUÉDIAWAYE, Senegal — Raids for suspects in a Paris attacks flashed opposite a radio during a Sow family residence in this tiny encampment along Senegal’s coastline.

The news reports from France served as a backdrop to an general hunt for extremists that now, surprisingly, has reached a vital room of Marieme Sow, thousands of miles divided in a republic prolonged hold adult as a indication of an Islamic approved society.

Ms. Sow has been indicted of assisting support a activities of Boko Haram, a organisation that affianced faithfulness to a Islamic State after unleashing years of assault in Nigeria and a adjacent countries.

She was partial of a Senegalese brush in new weeks of people suspected of carrying tie ties to Boko Haram or radical Islamist ideologies, including 4 imams and other suspects who were jailed on charges of advocating terrorism.

For years, even as Boko Haram and other radical Islamist groups in West Africa have seized domain and carried out self-murder bombings, rapes and kidnappings, Senegal, where some-more than 90 percent of a race is Muslim, has remained giveaway from aroused extremism.

But new events opposite a world, and now accusations of ties to Boko Haram in Senegal, have put a republic on a defensive.

President Macky Sall has oral of a need to shorten personal freedoms, tie borders and even anathema women from wearing burqas, observant that in Senegal, there was no place for radical Muslims.

“We have a assuage and passive Islam,” pronounced Mr. Sall, who is Muslim, during a new entertainment of confidence and antiterrorism experts.

In a capital, Dakar, where a call to request rings out 5 times a day from mosques, many Muslim women wear brief skirts and dance with Muslim group during nightclubs until dawn. Alcohol flows during restaurants where on a new dusk in one fishermen’s bar a live rope played Jimi Hendrix covers. Toy Santa Clauses are on sale during stores and markets.

Most Muslims in Senegal go to one of a Sufi brotherhoods, that use a cryptic form of Islam that centers on a enlightenment of work and nonviolence.

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“The Paris attacks, that’s not a Islam we trust in,” a waiter during a boozy strand grill offered, unsolicited.

This month, vital cities emptied out as many Muslims done an annual event to Touba, a collateral city of a Mouride brotherhood, where hundreds of military officers were on palm to keep confidence tight. Mr. Sall visited too, reiterating a oath to build a complicated sanatorium and “continue work for a holy city.”

But even in a republic that is famous for a use of spiritual, pacific Islam — where accusations of tellurian rights violations are infrequent, where crime is comparatively low, and where racial tensions have frequency escalated — a same governmental army are during work that have authorised extremism to develop in other countries.

Chief among them is Senegal’s already high stagnation rate, that continues to rise, generally for a immature adults who make adult a fast-growing shred of a population. Its farming attention is suffering, call villagers to pierce to civic areas or emigrate to demeanour for work.

The numbers of children enrolling in propagandize is rising though many adults are hardly educated. The misery rate is disappearing though still many people, generally in farming areas, have hardly adequate income to feed their families.

“Senegal has avoided some of a radicalization that you’re observant opposite a Sahel, though there are risk signals,” pronounced Katherine Marshall, a former World Bank republic executive for a Sahel segment of West Africa and an consultant on Senegal.

Mr. Sall in new weeks has seemed to be holding a warning signs some-more seriously.

He has due standardizing a curriculum in Islamic schools to safeguard radical teachings are eliminated, observant a republic should not “for domestic reasons endure a certain kind of discourse.”

Last month, Mr. Sall flew to Bamako, Mali, to offer his condolences to a republic after 19 people were killed in an conflict by Islamist militants on a Radisson Blu hotel there. He spoke with Mali’s president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, about a need to shorten personal freedoms to assistance moment down on intensity extremism.

In a debate final month, Mr. Sall pronounced his republic should be bold adequate to anathema burqas. “When we see new forms of veils appearing in a multitude we know this is conjunction in line with a enlightenment or a society,” he said.

Some Senegalese imams are also disturbed about possibilities of radicalization. At a categorical mosque in Guédiawaye, 3 imams representing a internal bend of a National Association of Imams recently sat underneath a untrustworthy tree deliberating a state of girl and their fears for their future.

They complained about a relapse of a normal structure of multigenerational families vital in one household. Youth in a chief family have reduction superintendence from elders who can keep a sharp eye on their comings and goings, they said. Young people watch too most television, splash too most ethanol and fume too most jamba, jargon for marijuana.

“The fear we have is a Internet,” pronounced one of a imams, Bala Cha, disturbed that immature people would be radicalized by amicable media.

But he pronounced that belligerent Islam was discordant to a Islam he has famous via his life in Senegal.

“Islam is a sacrament of peace,” Imam Cha said. “The approach people are brought adult here, we can’t trust there is anything different.”

Imam Cha and most of a republic were astounded by a new brush of suspects indicted of ancillary radical groups or ideologies.

Critics have indicted a Senegalese authorities of a magician hunt, observant that Islam is a different sacrament and Muslims should have a right to pronounce their minds.

Ms. Sow, 42, a lady indicted of assisting support Boko Haram, was held adult in a dragnet tied to a detain of Makhtar Diokhané, a Senegalese citizen, by Nigerian authorities.

Officials pronounced he was carrying a vast sum of money, including tawdry bills, and they indicted him of enlisting Senegalese imams to partisan for Boko Haram.

Ms. Sow and her family had taken Mr. Diokhané’s wife, Coumba Niang, into their home while her father was away.

The authorities pronounced Mr. Diokhané had been promulgation his mother vast sums of income — a sum volume was misleading though officers described stacks of 500 euro bills.

Ms. Sow kept a income wrapped in a headband in her home as a preference for Ms. Niang, according to her lawyer, who denied that his customer knew a origins of a income or a probable connection with Boko Haram.

The lawyer, Djibril Welle, pronounced a Sow family knew usually that Ms. Niang’s father worked abroad and sent behind income to his mother frequently, a common conditions in tools of Senegal where work is scarce.

When they schooled that Ms. Niang was removing prepared to leave for Niger, presumably with a cash, they went to a military to news her, Mr. Welle said.

The fact that Ms. Sow was arrested, too, was deeply discouraging to her family.

Sitting on a cot in a family’s house, Ms. Sow’s comparison sister, who declined to be named for fear that she competence wear a situation, wailed into a wispy white headband that her small sister was innocent.

“She doesn’t know anything about murdering people,” she sobbed. “We are Muslims. We don’t like people murdering any other.”