Witchcraft as Statecraft

France wanted a magician because the revolts were being led by magicians -- marabouts, "holy men" who used fakir tricks (glass eating, fire walking, snake charming) to build credibility as prophets of Allah. Their authority established, the marabouts would then inflame their followers to drive out the godless French.

Tetsuo Mukai

Source: Witchcraft as Statecraft