Bamako, Mali—

This West-African capital is Muslim. The call to prayer can be heard, from any point in the city, from several mosques simultaneously throughout the day.

But in the shadows, a rich culture of traditional animist ritual thrives. The animism is practiced in many forms, but one of them in particular, called komo, claims to work with devils, and boasts to serve many devout (and anonymous) Muslims.

On the Back of the Crocodile is an investigation into an unlikely cultural partnership between monotheistic Islam and its counterparts, traditional West African religions. It is a relationship that is neither officially recognized nor condoned, yet seems to be alive and well in Bamako.

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Power on Earth

A Malian animist explains how it is possible to believe in Allah while serving Satan.