Here's why religious groups want Rihanna banned from Senegal

Here's why religious groups want Rihanna banned from Senegal

Rihanna has gone from strength to strength in the last few years. Putting aside the nine Grammy awards she's accumulated throughout the years, the 29-year-old is hailed as a pop culture and fashion icon frequently flooding our Instagram feeds with her ever-revolving coterie of celebrity pals and carefully curated wardrobe. And we can't neglect to mention Fenty Beauty, the makeup range she launched last year that provides women of colour with the most diverse range of skin shades ever seen in a commercial venture.

It's enough to make anyone admire the pop-singer, or, at least you'd think so. The 29-year-old has been declared persona non grata by several religious organisations in Senegal. The Islamist groups have accused the pop singer of promoting homosexuality in complicity with the illuminati, and are protesting her arrival in the West African country.

The Barbadian singer is scheduled to attend a conference on education in Senegal with French President Emmanuel Macron, as part of her duties as ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education. However, a collective of 30 Islamic group called No to Freemasonry and Homosexuality has called on the Senegalese government to cancel Rihanna's visit

Speaking to the French-language pan-African weekly news magazine, Jeune Afrique, spokesman Cheikh Oumar Diagne said, "Rihanna doesn’t hide it: she’s part of the Illuminati, a branch of Freemasons."

Seemingly influenced by online theories of Rihanna's alleged ties to the Illuminati, he continued: "Moreover, her arrival coincides strangely with the date initially planned for the Humanist and Freemason African and Malagasy Meetings [to be held in Dakar]. We will demonstrate as soon as she leaves the plane. And if necessary, we will go to the Assembly, the Ministry of the Interior or the Presidency."

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is attempting to raise funds to educate some of the poorest and most vulnerable children in 65 countries. They aim to reach $2 billion a year by 2020, and replicate the improvements which have been in global health. Chair of the GPE and former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, spoke before the meeting, saying "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."

President of Senegal, Macky Sall, will be hosting the conference alongside Emmanuel Macron. And Interior Minister, Aly Ngouille Ndiaye, has informed Jeune Afrique that measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of those who are attending the conference.

Rihanna took to Twitter yesterday to thank Macron for co-hosting the conference. "Merci Emmanuel Macron for stepping up to co-host @GPforEducation’s Financing Conference in Dakar!" she wrote. "Will France pledge €250M for @GPforEducation tomorrow?"

Last year, the singer appealed to the Prime Minister to aid her efforts to fund education in third-world countries, especially in areas of conflict and crisis.

Macron, who is travelling to Senegal with his wife, Brigitte, is due to visit French forces serving with the G5 Sahel (a five-nation forced launched last year to counter extremism in West Africa) later this year.