Friday, November 16, 2012

It is a Djenne Sufi who wears his characteristic dreadlocks hidden under his turban mostly. We met him this morning at Sarmoye’ place. Sarmoye is the President of the High Islamic Council in Djenne. He loves Keita and there is enough warmth left over for me to bask in too. He is my most powerful protector in Djenne- a fine old man who lives in a beautiful Djenne house next to the Mosque. There is a steady stream of people who come and sit at his feet on the mats in front of him. He listens to them, then takes their hands, prays and gives them his blessing. He had prepared a traditional healing substance which includes ashes for one of Keita’s cousins in Bamako who suffers from mental illness. I asked Sarmoye and the Djenne Sufi what they thought of the Islamists and their insistence on Sharia. Their reply was complex and did not rule it out: the young Sufi thought that cutting someone’s hand off for stealing was a good deterrent for others.


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