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    Several Thousand Salafists Demonstrate for Islamic Law, Attack Dramatists in Tunis

    By Ahmed Ellali | Mar 25 2012 Share on Linkedin Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Share on pinterest Print

    Tags: Caliphate , Clashes , koran , Municipal Theater of Tunis , salafists ,

    Salafist demonstrators wave Caliphate flag on top of Tunis clocktower

    A group of several thousand Salafists and their supporters demonstrated in downtown Tunis today in support of the Koran, claiming that the Muslim holy book was under threat by more secular elements of Tunisian society. Demonstrators climbed the clock tower of Tunis to fly black caliphate flags from the top of the tower and chanted slogans such as “the people want a new caliphate.”

    At the same time and on the same street, the Tunisian Association for Drama Arts held a celebration for the upcoming World Day of Theater (usually March 27th) in front of the Municipal Theater. As the Salafist protest came to a close, a number of Salafist demonstrators attacked the Theater celebration.

    According to Yassine Ouni, a student from the Higher Institute for Drama, the Ministry of Interior was responsible for the confrontation because they gave permits for both events knowing there would be a conflict. “The Tunisian Association for the Drama Arts event and the Salafist demonstration was held at the same time. We want to hold the Interior Ministry accountable since it gave permission to the two movements on the same day and the Ministry knew there would be tension since Drama is sacred for all artists and religion is sacred for every citizen.”

    Salafists gather in front of the Municipal Theater

    The permit given to the dramatists was supposed to allow them to celebrate theater in the space between the municipal theater and the Africa Hotel while the Salafists had a permit to demonstrate by the Tunis clock tower. While the Salafist organizers agreed to separate the events at first, a group of  Salafists later came and damaged equipment, disrupted outdoor performances and threw eggs, empty bottles and sharp objects at those celebrating theater.

    Fawzi Guara, one of the demonstrators at the Salafist organized event for supporting the Koran blamed the theater celebration organizers for the confrontation. “Some Tunisians are not respecting our religious sanctity, campaigns against our religion confirm that there are elements here who want to provoke us. They don’t respect our views.”

    Members of the Tunisian Association for Drama Arts in front of the Municipal Theater

    Guara admitted that the Tunisian Association for Theater had received permission to hold an event first, but he said the Koran was more important than theater. “We knew they got permission before us, but they should give priority to defending the Koran and our religion. Anarchy can happen at any time, and simply by calling themselves ‘Theater of Resistance’ they are provoking us, resistance to whom? Did we sell out our country?”

    For Guara, his demonstration was necessary because he sees Islam as being under attack. “Today Tunisia is witnessing a historical day. Tunisians went to the street to show their disapproval against the desecration of the Koran in Ben Guerdene, against the six pointed star on the wall of the Al-Fateh Mosque.”

    He added that opponents of Salafists have been making a big deal out one Salafists’ desecration of the Tunisian flag at Mannouba University, just to give them a bad name. “We do love our country and our flag but the priority is for our religion and what is sacred. Islam does not oppose civility. We are here today to express our love for the Koran, for the prophet, for our holy sites. Our slogans are in support of the Koran, defending that which is sacred and rejecting discord and strife between Tunisians,” Guara said.

    Kouichi Shirayanagi contributed to this report

  • By Ahmed Ellali  / 
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    Comments

      Monia K. /

      I just can’t tell you how disappointed and sad this makes me as a tunisian in the diaspora. The true tragedy of these so called salafists is that they confirm every horror story Ben Ali used to scare us with.

      The salafists were given a golden opportunity to prove us all wrong but instead they do everything to live up to the stereotype of the violent, democracy hating, misogynist extremist.

      I see three possible outcomes of the rise of salafism in Tunisia.

      1) It will lead to civil war.
      2) It will turn Tunisia into a police state once again.
      3) It will force people to mobilize and drive the extremists away.

      Let’s hope for number 3!

      • skander /

        The sad thing is the Salifists are the true followers of the Quran. Everything they say and do is backed by words from the Quran. The word Islamic Fundementalist means to take literally or very seriously. The word moderate means to take partially. However, the Quran itself says you may NOT take it partially and people who take what they like and ignore the rest are hypocrites and worse than infedels. The only way to defeat the Salifists is question Islam directly. Only when the majority of the young population reject Islam and treat it really is, a dark age fairy tale the power of the Salifists will be decreased and young men will not join them because instead of being defender of God, they will be defenders of absurd myths. One should not be ashamed to be a non-believer, it is the believer who believes in ridiculous claims of a pedophile prophet.

        • W. /

          @Skander

          You spit in the face of the vast majority of muslims who do not interpret islam the same way these wahhabi salafists are. You are telling this majority that they are not real muslims. And by doing that you are actually supporting the salafists.

          You have more in common with the salafists than you think. You are the yin and the salafists are the yang. You may look like opposites but in reality you are both part of the same system.

          That system is called stupidity.

          Please fly to the moon and fight each other up there. We don’t need you morons down here. We can manage without you. Thanks.

          • Skander /

            The vast majority of Muslims do not know even the most basic facts of Islam. Most Tunisians believe the first Quran was a physical book that came to Earth. Most Tunisians believe Mohamed banned slavery. Most Tunisians claim they are Sunni, but have very little idea why Sunni and Shia split. They say because Shia’s think Ali is also a prophet while Sunni’s don’t. Which of course is not true. The vast majority of Muslims don’t interpret the Quran THEY DON’T BOTHER READING IT!!!!. However whenever someone actually takes the Quran seriously, and becomes religious the end result is almost always a Salafist. I do not spit in the face of Tunisians, but I’m telling them to wake up. Being ignorant is no longer an option. It’s time to use your brain. READ THE DAMN QURAN AND THINK CRITICALLY. DO NOT BELIEVE SOMETHING BECAUSE YOUR PARENTS AND TEACHER TOLD YOU AND ANYONE WHO TELLS YOU TO BELIEVE WITHOUT PROOF IS A WRONG!!!

            • S. /

              As far as I understood Quran is the only book you have read. If I have read only one book, I would never dare to call the others ignorant and stupid. Why do you think God has created the other people, even non-Muslims? So you and the others Quran readers to compare and to understand how superior they are?

          • peace /

            thanks for saying that W. they truly are mirror images of each other the fanatical secularits and the salafis. They feed of each other!

            • Greta /

              Just a comment peace and W – while the Salafists were climbing the clock tower and vowing to kill Jews the ‘fanatical secularists’ were cleaning up the beaches of Tunis. One group think constructively and the other destructively.

            • Skander /

              What does fanatical secularists mean? Does not want any religion in politics? And so what are moderates? Wants some things from the Quran, but not the rest? That is called hypocrite. I believe in rational and logic. If there is a law in Quran that is logical, I am not against it. I’m against making things law just because it is in the Quran. As the Quran has not be proven in any degree that it is from God, but has been shown countless times it is very very unlikely to have come from God, we should NOT follow anything just because it is in the Quran.

    1. Greta /

      The sight of these strange people climbing the clock tower and putting their own lives at risk is very unsettling. I suspect many of them are mentally disturbed. Why such violence directed to all and sundry? The do not seem to be capable of living their religion without aggression and, sadly, it seems only a matter of time before they move onto greater violence towards others. Anyone who can leave Tunisia will unless the government works out some sort of plan to get this situation under control.

      • Sam /

        Greta

        “Anyone who can leave Tunisia will unless the government works out some sort of plan to get this situation under control”.

        This is exactly what will happen if the government does not clamp down on these people without further delay. But, since Ghannouchi was quoted recently as saying the Salafists are his “brothers”, my optimism for the future of Tunisia is on a downward slope.

        I already have three examples of this. Some friends living in Tunis were in the process of buying a house for their retirement but they have now decided to buy one in France instead. Another friend has sold her house and will rent in future in case she needs to leave at relatively short notice. And I myself, have sold my house while there are still some buyers around. After several decades of residence, I will leave if they introduce Sharia law.

        It is not only young unemployed people who will risk their lives to leave, it is also educated people and entrepreneurs. On the other hand, who will come to Tunisia? Not the tourists or foreign investors. So, where will all those jobs come from, given that unemployment was the original trigger for the revolution? Who will put bread on the table of the increasing numbers of poor and unemployed?

        In the end, faith is one thing but God only helps those who help themselves. What practical advantage will Salafist rule have for Tunisia? I can only envisage widespread poverty and increased animosity within Tunisia and in relations with many other countries.

        What a pity for such a wonderful country! Tunisia had the potential to be a shining example of open-mindedness and prosperity for the Middle East and Africa. It could have demonstrated to the rest of the world that an Islamic country, without oil wealth, can and be vibrant and successful.

        • Greta /

          I too have friends who were planning to buy here but have changed their minds after visiting the country recently. It is a terrible shame because Ennadha are making real efforts to clean up the government and this is a noble cause. However, these efforts can only bear fruit if they change their attitude and start protecting the people of Tunisia from this minority who try and impose their will on the majority.

    2. Riyadh /

      Skander
      Good luck trying to prove that Islam is a myth , you claim you read the Quor’an but I am Not sure if your Arabic is good, therefore your ignorance won’t effect Islam nor the holly book of Quor’an . Take it easy , Tunisian are worried about you more than the salafist . This is not a religious war , it’s an election .

      • Maxwell Kpakpo Thompson /

        Wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place if people spent as much time trying to make peace as they do trying to tear apart? A community away, but likewise, just a few words can pave a smooth road. We must only guard against doing anything that might hurt another human being. It is through the kindness we have now and compassion that we display the special love that God has given us to share. Many times, we are consumed as not compared to the ideal market segment. may the words of my mouth always sound sweet and loving. Do not again take for your self indulgence act. I AM spreading even peace not you discord? tell me when you already have me and my ways for has the Heavens are and higher than the earth so is my ways that I might help people and show them the love that I would want for myself if I were in their shoes. Don’t be an abomination again to your waist Amen from the Max.
        NB: Don’t you think that there is going to be a waste in you that some officials from else especially my own (all) to conquer your indulgence and filthiness in me. I need your body to do my self favor for the Lord in you Amen. connect also to Accra, Ghana.

      • Skander /

        Yea, Adam and Eve are real, Noah’s ark is real, Stars are missiles to shoot Jinn, the world was spread like a carpet, The sun and Moon follow their orbit, but Earth obviously does not. Noah was eaten by big fish than spit out, etc. These are all myths and any logical non polluted mind will see them as myths. Also do you really think God would communicate with humans in such a poor way? Read the Quran critically and you will see thousands upon thousands of errors. Also we are expected that God of the Universe has no problem with sex slavery, pedophilia, wife beating, etc. According to the Quran, Allah can’t even do simple math, read the inheritance law at 4.11-4.12, most scenarios that don’t have sons does not even add up correctly. Just one of these never mind the thousands more is enough to prove Quran is a myth. God really going to say spread Earth like a carpet, while Earth is not flat and was not spread? The fact is myths are things without a timeline. For example in science they say dinosaurs lived 65 million years ago before they disappeared. Myths say, This person did this a long time ago, but we don’t know when. You wouldn’t think Allah would send a basic timeline of human history? The few things he did say of humanity turned out to be wrong. Enough is enough, You really think Tunisians are stronger than the Iranians, Saudis, Afghanis, etc. They all fallen to Islam, and the only successful way to stop radical Islam is a dictatorship. Instead of going back to dictatorship lets just throw it away for good. I’m not a Christian, but Jesus did say something very strong. You know a false prophet by the fruits he creates. Basically a real prophet makes good people a false prophet makes bad people. What kind of people did the Quran create all over the middle east? Is an Islamist a good person? You must fight your greatest fear which is Islam turning out false to fight the greatest evil of Islamist extremism.

    3. Greta /

      Skander, you are entitled to your opinions but do you really think now is the time to wage a war against Islam? Don’t you think the foreign press do that enought without Tunisians helping them out? Now is the time for Tunisians to unite, not fight.

    4. Florian Weiss /

      Has the author of this article been present in the Avenue when the incident in front of the theater happened? I witnessed the events. The organizers of the protest asked the crowd in fron of the theater several times to pull-back to the main protest site under the “clock tower”. It was only a few hundred people in front of the theater while the majority was attending the protest.
      The “dramatists” on the steps of the theater accted in a very provokative way. (Of course, that does not allow attacking them, but they were not as passive as described in the article). When the number of people in front of the theater grew, the police evacuated the “dramatists” and protesters of the muslim demonstration flodded the stairs. Other protesters stoped people who tried to provocate the police and damag things and bulid a human chain, the organizers asked the crowd to calm down and made sure that everything will remain peacfully.

      This day, 8.000 to 10.000 thousand tunisian muslims flodded the Avenue in Tunis! All this after only one week of mobilization, and the very most of the protesters where from Tunis itself.

      I call on TUNISIA LIVE to respect the pricnicples of a neutral journalism and not righting articles after “having heard by someone who has heard that…”. There should be a seperation between “news” and “oppinion”.

      The future of Tunisia will not be determined by a minority in the comments sections of blogs, on facebook or twitter. The islamic movement is growing constantly, even critics can not deny that. Come here and ask people about their opinion on secularism

      • W. /

        I think we all know that the islamic movement is growing in Tunisia. But what worries me is that a loud minority wants to push this movement into a more radical, salafist stance. If they succeed it would be disastrous for Tunisia on every level.

        It frustrates me that the Ennahda party is so quiet on these matters. How are we supposed to interpret their silence? Are they supporting the salafists? Are they indifferent to what is happening?

        • Greta /

          This is the big problem W. Ennadha are either trying to pretend the Salafist movement isn’t happening, in which case they are weak and foolish. Or they are in conspiracy with them, in which case they are terrifying to the average moderate who wants to live and let live (ie most of Tunisia).

        • Skander /

          “It frustrates me that Ennahda party is so quiet on these matters”.

          Do you know how Hitler became a dictator? He was actually fairly elected. He then used his secret SS corps to bribe, terrorize, assassinate, and any other evil thing he could do to his opponents Until he has supreme power. Ennahda is not enemies of the Salafists, but they seek to make them their allies. They would want them to do their evil of killing and terrorizing while they publicly denounce them, but privately reward them. Once they weakened the opponents of Ennadtha they will merge and create a Tunisian Islamic dictatorship. Or not get along and start murdering each other and create a civil war.

      • Khaled /

        I was there and sorry, they weren’t more than one thousand people including people who were just spectators. You are just spouting propaganda – perhaps you are fed up with your freedom of speech in Europe and you want to take ours away from us?

    5. Omar /

      W. said, “You are telling this majority that they are not real muslims. And by doing that you are actually supporting the salafists.”

      I have yet to see one of these “moderates” win a theological argument with a “true believer.” In fact, they gain power and converts precisely because they are perceived as the most authentically islamic – and rightly so, since islam is at heart a violent supremacist political ideology (per the express example and design of Mohammad). . . . The sad part is you will probably have to establish another dictatorship to put the genie back in the bottle and it will come at a great price of blood and treasure(if you it’s even still possible) – and ’round we will go again.

      • W. /

        I’m not impressed.
        If you read about islamic philosophy you’ll discover that wahhabism (salafism) emerged in the 18th century.
        Long before that, muslims had practiced and presented theories on secularism, democratic consultation (shura), interpretation of the Qur’an (ijtihad) and lots of other interesting things.

        I just can’t understand why all this good stuff should be thrown away just because some salafist says so. Isn’t that the definition of stupidity?

      • Nouri /

        What a joke, salafists represent real Islam. Salafism started in the 18th century and before that there never was something called real Islam? It is a modern movement that interpretes the religion in an ultra orthodox way to counter modernity. Compare them with orthodox protestants cause that also started centuries later to appear in response to. Zaitouna mosque and university is orthodox but unfortunately shut down first by Bourguiba and even more by Ben Ali. When an authentic source like that is necked you open the door to salafi ideology from Saudi Arabia. Ben Ali thought he could surpress salafi ideology but what he should have done is counter it with Zaitouna, an authentic source of Islamic knowledge where many imams do learn how to deal with the daily reality of Tunisian society.

    6. v /

      God help this poor country, if these disgraceful scenes keep happening, the world is watching and Tunisia is losing it,s chance to be a shining example.

    7. latifa /

      Ennahda have made their position clear from the start. The believe they current reference in the constitution is sufficient. 10,000 salafis wont change it nor will 20 or 30 dramatists!!!

      We need moderation which fortunately is the view of the majority of Tunisans and represented in the parliament.

    8. latifa /

      Ennahda have made their position clear from the start. They believe the current reference in the constitution is sufficient. 10,000 salafis wont change it nor will 20 or 30 dramatists!!!

      We need moderation which fortunately is the view of the majority of Tunisans and represented in the parliament.

    9. Maxwell Kpakpo Thompson /

      I Am a soul that needs to be search for not for nothing. I Am does not belong even to the body forever but everything. I Am life that needs to be lived lively and also eternally. I Am real hats why I wear my faith and never to be ashamed, panic for him or fear and that protects my fathers house. i Am that light that shines pure when pure in heart, and is blessed when purely good. I Am is not a bad egg, a bird of passage. To all these I AM. I Am not a cupboard lover , a brother far away. I Am blesses his friends with low voices. I Am the tree of life and tongue which is also the law of kindness to them that diligently seek in him. above all I Am a strong minded person that rules over matters and no rancor. You know me, yes, why, but you don’t have me. I Am very jealous and over lovely life. I Am love, I AM Maxwell kpakpo Thompson

    10. Kusaila /

      If they were only peaceful, one could perhaps consider offering them a remote district in the Southern part of Tunisia where they could lead their twisted medieval lifestyle, similar to the Amish community of Pennsylvania.

    11. Mohammed Bin Omar /

      I am from England (now going to go to Tunisia) ..but I find it strange as to how people are afraid of Islam … people who abuse “Islam” are still given the term ‘Secularist’ or even scientist rather than ‘Islam hater’ ..however those who even remotely speak for Islam are called “Extremists” ..sad that Tunisia is taking a turn like Europe and UK in terms of Islamophobia

      • Greta /

        Personally speaking, I attack the Salafists but I am not at all afraid of Islam, on the contrary I pray that it can be preserved the way it is in Tunisia – a religion that enriches society and can embraces people of all different opinions and outlooks. That’s part of what makes Tunisia such a wonderful country.

    12. Shepherd /

      Clowns, certainly your kaput has drawn closer to blow up your rotten lifestyle. Though, it seems that you have got some time to crawl away somewhere, because the ‘salafists’ are still arguing with you at the queue for ‘the space between’. Soon they are going to realize that they do not have to humble humiliating themselves in from of taghut.

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