36 imagesThe Greater Jihad is not war by force of arms, but the fight against the inner demons. Whoever conquers his inner enemies will also succeed against his worldly enemies. This is what the Senegalese Sufi-Cheikh Amadou Bamba Mbacké (1853 - 1927) taught his followers, when tribal leaders called for the raising of arms against the French. Even today, many Senegalese are fervent supporters of Bamba's pacifist teachings. Never has the West African country experienced an attack in the age of international terror - in contrast to its neighbouring countries. In Senegal, 95 percent of the population adheres to Islam and most of them commit themselves to Sufism. The Sufis are mystics and less concerned about the dogmas of their religion than about unity with God. They are obliged to submit to the spiritual guidance of a clergyman, called Marabout in Senegal, and to pay a part of their income for it. Although Senegal has a secular government since its independence in 1960, the highest marabouts rank among the most powerful and richest men in the country. They preach tolerance, pass part of their wealth on to the needy and build many mosques In order to prevent other muslim countries from gaining influence by building mosques and sending their preachers to Senegal. The Senegalese are grateful for their religious independece. Women are not considered the property of their husbands. Whether they wear headscarves or natural hair is up to them. And in one brotherhood, there are women who can play the role of a marabout and have male and female followers. Critics argue that Senegal is one of the least developed countries in the world because of the strong political influence of the marabouts. Also there is talk of the exploitation of the faithful and of the mafia-like business practices. Nevertheless, the Senegalese are very proud of their religious culture. Some believe that Islam will be reformed from Senegal to return to its original meaning which translates as "calmness" or "peace".