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Tens Of Thousands Attend Senegal Pilgrimage Despite COVID-19

Pilgrims from the Mouride Brotherhood sing poems written by Cheikh Amadou Bamba outside the Grand Mosque of Touba as they take part in the celebrations of the Grand Magal of Touba, Senegal, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of people from the Mouride Brotherhood, an order of Sufi Islam, are gathering for the annual religious pilgrimage to celebrate the life and teachings of Cheikh Amadou Bamba, the founder of the brotherhood. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Pilgrims from the Mouride Brotherhood sing poems written by Cheikh Amadou Bamba outside the Grand Mosque of Touba as they take part in the celebrations of the Grand Magal of Touba, Senegal, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of people from the Mouride Brotherhood, an order of Sufi Islam, are gathering for the annual religious pilgrimage to celebrate the life and teachings of Cheikh Amadou Bamba, the founder of the brotherhood. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Tens of thousands of Muslims are descending upon Senegal's holy city this week for the annual Grand Magal pilgrimage, a tradition in West Africa that some fear could become a superspreader event for COVID19.

TOUBA, Senegal: Tens of thousands of Muslims are descending upon Senegal’s holy city this week for the annual Grand Magal pilgrimage, a tradition in West Africa that some fear could become a super-spreader event for COVID-19.

The Magal honors the founder of the Mouride Brotherhood, Senegal’s most influential religious order. In previous years, as many as 3 million people have traveled to the city of Touba for the event, with many coming from neighboring Gambia.

With Senegal’s land borders still closed, fewer pilgrims might attend the main events on Tuesday. Closely packed lines queued up to enter the Grand Mosque of Touba, though hand sanitizer and masks were required to enter.

“I think the COVID-19 crisis has not scaled down the attendance of Toubas Grand Magal celebration, as we have seen big crowds in the city in recent days, said Mame Diarra Wade, who travelled from Guediawaye, a suburb of the capital, Dakar.

Senegal was among the first African countries to report a confirmed COVID-19 case but has avoided the high death tolls seen elsewhere, in large part due to widespread required mask-wearing and restrictions on travel.

The country has had more than 15,000 confirmed cases and 312 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus.

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Associated Press writer Abdoulie John contributed.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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