Monday, December 08, 2003

Senegal: who's listening to the radical Islamists?

I was reading this article about Mamour Fall, a Senegalese imam who was recently deported from Italy for, among other things, going on about having a "blood pact" with Osama bin Laden ...

That story is just the lead in to breifly explore Islam in W. Africa. Incidentally, the piece concludes that al Qaeda brand Islam is unlikely to find root in the region.

Near the end of the piece, the reporter mentions that there had been reports of al Qaeda presence in Liberia .... that the head of the war crimes court in Sierra Leone has said he had proof.

I couldn't find mention of that last point ... but this year-old Washington Post article offers detailed allegations that the governments of Liberia and Burkina Faso "... hosted the senior terrorist operatives who oversaw a $20 million diamond-buying spree that effectively cornered the market on the region's precious stones."

Anyway, to the point ... this clearly isn't a huge relevation ... even if radical Islamists don't find a ready audience in W. Africa, they can still exploit the instability and the mineral resources of the region to fund their activities.