Pop star Rihanna is expected to appear in Senegal on Friday for a high-level summit but some religious bodies have said that she is not welcome.
“No to Freemasonry and Homosexuality”, an association of around 30 religious groups in Senegal, has said that it suspects the musician of belonging to the Illuminati, a so-called group of global elites working to establish a New World Order.
The group has since declared her persona non grata, reports French media Jeune Afrique.
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Rihanna will be attending the founding conference of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), which will be co-chaired by President Macky Sall and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, in Dakar on Friday.
She will be visiting the West African country in her role as an ambassador for the GPE.
The religious organisations have asked the government to cancel the Barbadian pop star’s visit, claiming that she intends to use the visit to promote homosexuality in line with the Freemasons.
“Rihanna doesn’t hide it: she’s part of the Illuminati, a branch of Freemasons,” Cheikh Oumar Diagne, a spokesman, told Jeune Afrique.
Meanwhile, musical collaborators of Rihanna have in the past denied such claims.
Religious organisations in Senegal are considered very powerful, as they usually have a say in daily activities and influence public opinion. The country is currently made up of over 90% Muslim but it is believed to be very tolerant as Muslims and Christians are often seen celebrating their festivals together.
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) has the aim of helping to fund the teaching of millions of children and young people in developing countries.
“We’re hoping that the conference marks the moment that momentum shifts globally on education and education financing,” Julia Gillard, the chair of the GPE board and Australia’s former prime minister, said before the meeting.
“Over the last few years, there’s been growing global interest in education, particularly girls’ education, but financing hasn’t as yet followed. We need a step change,” she added.
Meanwhile, Senegal’s interior minister has said that he will ensure the safety of all conference attendees.