WELCOME TO THE CONTROVERSY! "This nation cannot be overthrown by battle. It would never allow itself to be. America can only be overthrown by removing its reason for greatness, its exceptionalism and existence as a force for world influence for good and freedom. The driving purpose that led our brothers and sisters to shed their blood for a new country and which drove a people and a President to hold fast to the premise that the nation could not be divided into two in the bloody civil war. Our vision of defeating evil, which gives our men and women in the military valor and a willingness to sacrifice in each of our American centuries, has been freedom. The greatest force for freedom has always been the Constitution of the United States. Now, this government, of the people disregards the people. Now these rights, for the people, seem to have been invalidated by a force that has no constitutional right to do so." - Author Steven Clark Bradley

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A Land of Sheikhs - The Most Intelligent of Idiots - The Memoirs of Author Steven Clark Bradley

A Land of Sheikhs
The streets of Dakar, Senegal were always strangely quiet during the day. That was a stark contrast to the loud and vigorous streets at night. Those who seemed to be securely locked away, during the day, poured out onto the streets after the last call to prayer of the day had been sung. The nights swelled with people on the streets all night and darkness took its turn to nocturnally reign.
Steven Clark Bradley

Copyright 1,1999
Present Time, 2011
If I had to compare the lifestyles between Bangladesh, Pakistan and Senegal, I would have to say that Senegal’s lifestyle was far superior to that of the other third-world countries I had spent considerable time in. One of the biggest differences was the fitness of the Senegalese people. I had never seen groups of people exercising early in the morning. Every morning hundreds of young African students were out at the coastal areas of Dakar every morning running and playing sports. The Senegalese had a lot more energy than anything I had seen in Bangladesh or Pakistan.

I loved to drive out to the coast, in the morning. I could watch the fishermen out in their large canoe-like boats casting out their nets into the ocean to bring in the catch of the day. It was a real mystical experience to watch how these men kept themselves, their families and the rest of the country eating for another day. Yet, there were many things that were the same, such as the interiors and exteriors of the homes. There was again a real infatuation with the interior of their home without the slightest concern for the outside.

One other aspect of life in Senegal was the looseness of the women. Wolof women are considered by many to be the most beautiful black women, in the world. In Pakistan nor in Bangladesh, I had never been offered sex for money in neither country. After couple of days of walking around on the streets, with and without Ruth, by my side, with the kids. There had to have been at least twenty times that a passing Wolof woman looked at me and uttered the same words.

My French was not bad, at the time, but this accent trying utter French words made it hard to understand. Then, the next woman passed me and uttered the words very quickly. “Fait L’amour?” Each and every woman who had said the same thing were asking me if I wanted to have sex. I would say that the lax morals were so against the precepts of the religion they kept. The need of food, lodging and clothing made such terrible offers emanate out of the mouths of such beautiful women.

Yet, the one grave thing that was not different were the same spiritual forces that were at work in Pakistan were now also at play in the nation of Senegal. By the time we arrived in Senegal, I had already worked with Muslims for over seven years. I found the same blind adherence to their false belief, in Senegal. I also found a wonderfully resilient people with good and democratic leaders and Islamic roots which were tempered throughout Western African Islam. There was almost an amalgamation of ancient Islamic principles mixed with animistic ideals that could be called a Muslim based cult more than purely Islamic.

Unlike Dakar, the coastal, quite elegantly designed, Senegalese Capital, Touba City, the center of all of West Africa’s brand of Islam, is located some two hundred kilometers north, in the interior. It is a hot and dusty, inland sun-baked city. Yet, to members of the Mouride Islamic movement, Touba was not what it appeared. It was a great a pilgrimage to venture to Touba City for Mourides as Mecca is, for more traditional Muslims, around the world. To the Mourides, Touba was a holy city. It was where the tomb of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacké, the shrouded, face-covered prophet of West African Muslims, who is fundamentally worship by the Muslims in Senegal and most of West Africa. 

Ahmadou Bamba Mbacké was the founder of the movement of his followers’ profound devotion. Bamba’s rule of his millions of followers have proclaimed and extended by reign through his successors, Mouhamadou Moustapha Mbacké, Mouhamadou Fallilou Mbacké, Abdoul Ahad Mbacké, who had all lived and died. Yet, no one would ever even consider the outrageous notion that their very own prophet had gone the way of all the Earth. Abdou Khadre Mbacké now reigned as The Grand Marabout in Touba, the heir apparent of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacké’s distorted Islamic movement, to the present day.
Senegal is a land of sheikhs, whose followers are good people who work hard and have no notion that life is possible without struggle. Outside the homes of Dakar, Senegal, the nation’s very well designed capital, which was once called, the Paris of Africa, there were strong people, bustling and striving and making it work.

The streets of Dakar were always strangely quiet during the day. That was a stark contrast to the loud and vigorous streets at night. Those who seemed to be securely locked away, during the day, poured out onto the streets after the last call to prayer of the day had been sung. The nights swelled with people on the streets all night and darkness took its turn to nocturnally reign.

The Senegalese had a certain dignity that was engrained in them. This society, while by no means free of dangers and divisive dealings, quietly carried the religious burden, while most ordinary Muslims busied themselves to the more pressing need of eating for just one more day. Still, no matter what level of sophistication these followers of Bamba exercised, most Senegalese often consulted their own trusted Marabouts, who guided them and prayed for them and cast spells on their enemies, and performed voodoo on their loved ones upon whom the devils had set their eyes. These false teachers of lies were everywhere.

Dakar contained nearly half the country's population of 8 million people. But, the 'Grand' Marabouts were far from the people. They could be found at religious centers like Kaolack or Touba or in even more obscure villages, from where their devotion to a faith that even Muslims from around the world decried, practicing dark magic that was more allied with the occult than the with typical Muslim doctrines. But they held sway over a people in tune to accept the message of Sheik Amadou Bamba . 

Then, there was also the Bayfalls who form a Muslim sect to which thousands of men belong and serve as the guardians of Touba City and the Grand Marabout. When a powerful Marabout was in the area, one could see literally hundreds or at times, thousands of black men marching down the street and violently twirling their large wooden batons and making an amazing amount of noise, as a warning to the public to stay away from their god on earth, the Grand Marabout.
Bayfalls wear long, matted dreadlocks that they told me were similar, but not at all the same as the Bob Marley Rastafarians’ look. These men were not savages, but were also totally unafraid to die for the Grand Marabout. A Bayfall’s dress consists of a set of patchwork clothes, resembling a quilted set of vestures. They gave the viewer every and any impression they wished to relay to the situation around them. When they needed money, they were friendly and able to talk in quite good French, and Wolof, which I actually learned well, while I was there, but have almost completely forgotten since then. My French is almost as good as it was when I lived in Senegal. I was able to talk with many of them about Christ.

The best time to approach them was when they were hungry. These were not beggars. They are a genuine part of the established Islamic brand of Mouridism. I actually was able to eat with four different Bayfalls. They did look spooky, too, but they were just following their faith to sincere sinner’s hell. Talking with them, I could feel a real desire to know God, but they were looking in all the wrong places. All I had to do was offer them a meal at the tent covered outdoor restaurant. I have eaten with four different Bayfalls. With one I we ate Cebujin, Senegalese rice and fish. The next one, a few days later, I got us both Maafe, better known as peanut butter stew. It is wonderful and nourishing. If you have are allergic to peanuts, Senegalese maafe is not for you. The last two Bayfalls were together, and I served them Yassa, a simply beautiful dish with lots of onions, in lemon sauce and spices. There, each time I sat down with the Bayfalls, all round me I could hear the word “Toobob, Toobob.”

It was a common expression that white people heard, most of the time after some people had just walked by next to you. Inevitably, you’d hear it, “Toobob, Toobob.” It was not a word of social indignation. I was not a white slur either. It meant the men with the red faces. In Wolof, Whites are not called white, In most of Africa. The Wolof language called them “Gor bu honk.” Translated, it means, red man. The term was actually transported over to the Americas with the arrival of slaves from Africa. Most white Americans would know term, “Honkey.” It is a direct pulled word from the Wolof language, which was the language most kidnapped blacks from Africa communicated it.

Each time I met with the Bayfalls I looked around at the sea of black as coal faces all around me and with me the only white face. It makes the pre-civil rights days come right home to a white boy to be in the small minority. One thing is for sure. Blacks in America, in 1985, did not receive the respect and smiles, from whites in America as I was afforded by the Senegalese people. It made me a man free of racism. I became a man who only loved the persons inside. It is only that which can give life to the outside, anyway.

I discovered that they were really no different than any of us. They told me of their weekly all-night prayers and chants; especially on Saturday nights, with dancing, drumming, and chanting in Arabic and Wolof. These experiences served me well, because I recall so well that just three weeks later, I got a knock at my door. I opened the door and there stood a man who was a picture perfect example of something right out of Tarzan. He wore a similar patchwork quilted sort of thing and had a sword and his baton was strapped to his side.

He seemed different than any other Bayfall I had met. Both of his ears were pierced with animal bones stuck through the lobes. He had a sharp piece of wood stuck clean through his nose and numerous other, very voodoo-like things attached to him. I looked at him up and down and right and left and right again. “Qu’est ce que vous voulez.” I asked him what he wanted. “Rien, je vuex rien. Oh, oui. Je veux de l’eau.” He looked at me and smiled softly “I want some water.” I still didn’t invite him in. The souls of Christ inside had far more importance to me than this guy’s did. I felt he was safe, but who’s taking chances with a walking armored vehicle standing in front of you. This was a land that had once possessed a great African Kingdom. The residue of its power and influence still filled the heart of the Wolof People.

Out of some six million people, there were more than fifty-six languages spoken in the many different tribes throughout Senegal. French was the language that was supposed to bind them together, but in reality, it was Islam that bound them. It was Touba City and the Grand Marabout was the de facto ruler of the nation. If the President were to do something that the Marabout was displeased about, there could be war on the streets of Dakar. These were devoted people and their many tribes and tongues that formed the nation we were about to enter in 1985, and to which we had committed our lives to making sure we told as many as possible that Jesus Christ is Lord...

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