In the courtyard of Cheikh Abdou Karim Mbacké’s palace, many expensive cars are parked, such as the Bentley on the right side of this picture. The cars are said to be gifts of his followers, among whom there are many rich Senegalese businessmen who have settled around the globe. Although Senegal has a secular government since its independence in 1960, the highest Marabouts rank among the most influential men in the country. They pass on their religious authority to their sons, together with their wealth. Their followers see the wealth and splendour of their religious leaders as a proof of their power and their proximity to God.
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