Religious groups in Senegal are calling on the government to bar Rihanna from entering the country, claiming the Barbadian pop star is secretly a Freemason trying to promote homosexuality in Africa.
A coalition of 30 Islamic groups calling itself No to Freemasonry and Homosexuality says the Global Partnership for Education conference, starting today in Dakar, is just a front for a gathering of Freemasons, who want to push an LGBT agenda on the continent.
“Rihanna doesn’t hide it: she’s part of the Illuminati, a branch of Freemasons,” a spokesman for the group told Jeune Afrique.
Senegalese president Macky Sall and French president Emmanuel Macron will also attend the conference, which aims to raise funds to help educate the poorest children in dozens of countries.
“We’re hoping that the conference marks the moment that momentum shifts globally on education and education financing,” said GPE chair Julia Gillard. “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.”
Same-sex relations are illegal in Senegal, where 97% of the population believes society should not accept homosexuality. When President Obama brought up gay rights during a 2013 visit, Sall responded that “we are still not ready to decriminalize homosexuality.”
“Gays are not persecuted,” he added, “but for now they must accept the choices of other Senegalese.”
Rihanna has been less vocal in her activism than some celebrities, but she has always been supportive of the LGBT community.
While performing in Indiana in 2015, she slammed the state’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which protects discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Riri also quietly helped a gay fan come out to his family: In a twitter chat from 2016, she assured him that “it’s okay to be scared, but it’s more important to be who you are.”
“Your family may not understand,” she added, “but luckily you live in a generation that does! And more importantly the community here amongst us, we will hold you down.”