16 January 2012 5:16 pm | | 7


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Salafists hold a conference at Manouba University

During a press conference held today, protesters at Manouba University’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities announced that the students wearing the niqab (full-face veil) will begin an open hunger strike tomorrow, January 17, until their demands are met.

The niqab incident at Manouba University started on November 28, 2011, when a group of Salafists – Muslims belonging to a strict Islamist fundamentalist school of thought – protested against the ban of the niqab. Girls wearing the face-covering were prohibited from taking their exams or attending classes. The protesters demanded that students be allowed to wear the niqab and that an area for prayer be provided inside the university. Administrative faculty and professors rejected the demonstrators’ demands, which resulted in the suspension of classes for weeks.

At the press conference, the protesters declared that they are committed to their demands and that they will not give up on their cause. They also addressed the administrative faculty’s lack of seriousness regarding their case. Additionally, they stated that the sit-in was completely peaceful, but that their cause was exploited for political reasons.

The Salafist demonstrators announced that girls wearing the niqab (which are five) will begin an open hunger strike until their demands are met.

Imen Ben Rouha, one of the students planning to participate in the hunger strike, said that the faculty refused to speak with them or even try to resolve this issue. Ben Rouha also stated that the University’s administration verbally abused them. “We are ready to sacrifice our lives for this cause. This is our right and we are open to any dialogue that can lead to a solution to this case,” she stated.

Mohamed Amine Rahali, one of the organizers of the sit-in, said that they may join the hunger strike as a display of solidarity.

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Comments (7)

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Sites That Link to this Post

  1. The Niqab Debate at Al-Manouba | Elizabeth Buckner | 29 November 2012
  2. Revolutionary Chic: The Niqab as a Symbol of Freedom | 29 February 2012
  1. art says:

    Just wait them out, that will solve the problem.

  2. Salah says:

    Personally I am not in favour of the niqaab at educational institutions such as universities. Mainly because of security reasons and the fact that in education it IS in my opinion the norm to at least see the others’ face while communicating, especially as a teacher towards his/her students.

    Nevertheless I am of the opinion that problems as these should ALWAYS try to be solved pragmatically in trying to find a solution acceptable for both parties. While saying this I can imagine that the administration and directors of certain universities are very intolerant towards the niqaab perse, from a personal point of view. And this is probably also where some of the problems arise.

    About a room to pray at universities I would say that if there is a need for it it should be allowed to and be possible. The only problem is that often such a room becomes a place where politics is being discussed or lectured by fellow Muslims. It should strictly be a room where Muslims can pray and not become a place where Islam is lectured or even worse where they delve into politics. These things can be done outside a university. I can understand that a university is not very eager to offer a room for prayer from this point of view. But pragmatically seen the directors of a university and a student board asking for a prayer room could also make agreements and basic guidelines what would be allowed and what would not be.

  3. Coupal says:

    Let them starve to death. If the university gives in to their demands, they will never be able to tell who is behind the veil, who comes to class and who takes the exams. The protesters are just bullies and the only way to deal with a bully is to stand up to it.

  4. sadab says:

    @ motazz….seems like you have got some kinda Superiority complex…I feel bad for people like you who live in a fantasy world. I don’t support Niqab in university either. A professor can always feel uncomfortable talking to a student who only shows her eyes. this will effect the rest of the class……but you my friend think that you own the world…wake up buddy..you have been dreaming for a bit too long…

  5. Motazz Beloua says:

    Let them go on strike. Tunisians dont want them in universities with their Niqab. They still have the Right to wear it in the streets in their homes, but no public institutions please. No universities, no national admin…
    And it is our right, as majority of tax payers,to decide how our universities have to look like. They can build a university in their own,like catholic universities in Europe, their beloved saudiS will live to pay them that

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