Senegal mourns Muslim brotherhood leader

Eight days of national mourning have been declared.

Senegal mourns Muslim brotherhood leader

The leader of Senegal's most influential Muslim brotherhood, the Mourides, has died aged 85, media reported Thursday.

Serigne Bara Falilou Mbacke died of natural causes late Wednesday in the holy Senegalese city of Touba, Prime Minister Souleymane Ndene Ndiaye announced over state radio early Thursday.

Mbacke was 82 when he was designated the sixth leader of the Mourides shortly after his predecessor died in December 2007. He was a grandson of the brotherhood's founder, Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba.

Mbacke was swiftly buried at the main mosque in Touba. He had been ill for months and had recently been hospitalized at a private clinic in the capital, Dakar.

The sixth caliph general was replaced as head of the brotherhood by family member Serigne Cheikh Maty Leye Mbake, 86, the eldest grandson of the founder of Mouridism Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacke (1853-1927).

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade flew by helicopter from the capital Dakar to the holy city of Touba 200 km (125 miles) away to meet Serigne Cheikh Maty Leye Mbake. Local television showed the president late on Thursday kiss Mbake's hand on bended knees.

The cleric was buried in the Great Mosque of Touba, which is one of the largest mosques in Africa.

Eight days of national mourning have been declared.

Hundreds of thousands of Senegalese have headed to Touba to pay their respects to Bara Mbacke this week after learning of his death, with the normally heavy traffic in Dakar visibly lighter because of the exodus.

There are also many Mourides followers among the Senegalese diaspora in Europe and the United States.

Senegal is 95 percent Muslim. The Mourides are one of the largest Muslim brotherhoods, and they exert considerable religious, political and economic influence in the West African country.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Temmuz 2010, 14:40