7 Feb 2007

Mourides: literally liberal Islam


Like so many Senegalese migrants (some of whom drive taxis in New York or pick lemons in Spain), those Roman peddlers belong to a dynamic Sufi Muslim movement called the Mourides. They are followers of Cheikh Amadou Bamba, a religious leader who died in 1927. Inspired by his teaching, they have made an ingenious response to the advent of global markets in goods and labour.

Most of Senegal's 11m people are Muslims, and they usually belong to one or other of two big movements, the Mourides or the older Tidjanes. Bamba described the teaching now known as Mouridism as a return to Islam's roots. But his Islam has little in common with the more austere variety propagated from Saudi Arabia. For one thing, Mouridism has a cult of saints and shrines—including the tomb of its founder—which devout Saudis would reject. But the self-sufficient Mourides don't care; they raise money for their favourite causes and build their own mosques with no need of Saudi cash.


This is from Europe's Senegal connection
Faith in the market

Dec 19th 2006 | ROME AND TOUBA, SENEGAL
From The Economist print edition

I guess its assumed I only read Marx and Jonathon Porritt but this is far from true, you have to be open to everything (incidentally the early Porritt had his moments, less so today), so yes I am a keen Economist reader. Very nice to get witty, well argued, interesting and relevent material, from those you disagree with.

The Economist with some exceptions such as the war in Iraq, combine free market philosophy with the traditional liberal belief in libertarian choice, when it comes to many issues from the death penalty to cannabis and beyond their views are pretty similar to the Green Party and much of the left.

Like the Economist I am a fan of the Sufis and acknowledge the civilisation which is Islam, so I was interested to read this on the Mourides, who according to the Economist are literal market liberal Muslims, reliant, enterprising traders.

Free movement of people by the way is a liberal value rejected by New Labour governments keen on free trade globalisation.

I don't know whether there is more to the story of the Mourides, some of whom are in Italy selling umbrellas? I would love to know.

The usual Islamphobia continues in Britain, with daily scare stories.

Where does the worst most intolerant Islam come from, not from your neighbour in Bradford who is likely to be a sufi but from religious schools in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis who are close to Blair, are armed by our government...our allies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have just been in Senegal and met many Mourides and I can tell you they are hugely spiritual and impressive. I am not religious but humanist and the way that the Mourides I met were conducting their life made a big impact on me. They belive in helping others and if you visit Touba, the spiritual home you will be given a bed and food - I cannot wait to go back - I am from the UK and am studying environment management at moment and am presently in USA - the culture shock between Senegal and USA is huge - but I am more impressed with the value life is given in Senegal than in the USA. By the way the Mourides are anti violence and highly tolerant