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German Muslim convert finds inner peace in Senegal

German Muslim convert finds inner peace in Senegal
Björn Pachurka pursue happiness around the world before finding life he has been searching in West Africa

By Alaattin Dogru

DAKAR, Senegal (AA) - In search of a peaceful and spiritual life, a Muslim convert find what he was seeking in the West African nation of Senegal, moving away from the material, conformist life he was living in Germany.

Björn Pachurka, a German Muslim convert known as Hadim Ndiguel, had traveled around the world in search of inner peace, before living in Senegal for nearly 20 years.

43-year-old Pachurka found inner and spiritual peace in Senegal, which made him forget about the material comfort life he had in Germany and adopt the Muslim religion and lifestyle in the West African country.

He was a solar energy technician in Germany, passionate about hip-hop music and the story of the African American community's fight for civil rights.

Influenced by the life of Malcolm X, Ndiguel began a quest that took him far from his native land.

Ndiguel converted to Islam in Senegal about 20 years ago where he joined the Mouride Brotherhood, he told Anadolu Agency.

The Mouride Brotherhood is a Sufi Muslim fraternal organization that encourages self-help and hard work. It is very popular in Senegal and Gambia with headquarters in the city of Touba, Senegal, which is a holy city for the order.


- The transition from hip-hop to mystical Mourisdism

Ndiguel grew up as a Protestant Christian.

"I'm part of the hip-hop generation. I loved reggae and hip-hop music. That's how I knew African-Americans. Then I read the story of Malcolm X and his conversion to Islam. After that, I decided to move to Africa," he told Anadolu Agency.

Ndiguel, who first settled in Egypt, recounted his adventures with religious members of Rastafarianism, of which the late Bob Marley was also a member.

He later pursued his quest in some Sub-Saharan African countries, including Zambia, Malawi and finally settled in Senegal.

In Senegal, Ndiguel was introduced to the Sufi tradition of Mouridism and was influenced by the lifestyle and peaceful teachings of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (1853-1927), founder of the brotherhood.

"Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba, founder of the city of Tuba, was an exceptional man and he showed peaceful and non-violent resistance against French people of the colonial era, " Ndiguel said.


- From Bamba Mourisdism to Baye Fall Mysticism

During his adventure in the heart of the Senegalese Sufi brotherhood, Ndiguel met the Baye Fall movement, which was similar to Rastafarianism.

The movement was established by Sheikh Ibrahima Fall -- one of the first students of Sheikh Bamba.

His teachings focused on hard work, goodness, and helping others.

Ndiguel, who married a Senegalese woman, is now the father of eight children and lives with Baye Fall members in a remote village in the West African country.

"We live in our village according to a collective way of life and we do all the work required by our Sheikhs. Our lives conform to the strict rules of the community. Here, we work hard to find inner peace," he said.

- Baye Fall Movement

The Mouride, a Sunni brotherhood followed by the majority of Muslims in Senegal, was founded by the Senegalese Muslim scholar Sheikh Bamba (1853-1927) in 1887.

Bamba was exiled to Gabon and Mauritania because he resisted -- with a non-violent rhetoric -- the French colonial and missionary activities in Senegal.

Although it was not approved by Sheikh Bamba, Fall and his supporters created the heterodox Baye Fall movement which is still practiced today in the West African nation.

*Writing by Felix Tih

source: News Feed
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