07 January 2013 4:33 pm | | 2


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Protesters at a demonstration before the U.S. Embassy in Tunis in September (Photo credit: Rabii Kalboussi)

Political party Hizb Ettahrir criticized Tunisia’s democratic transition and the current constitutional draft at a public meeting in Gabès on Sunday, January 6.

Formerly outlawed in Tunisia, Hizb Ettahrir gained legal recognition by the Ennahdha-led government and calls for the return of the Caliphate by political means.

The public gathering on Sunday centered on ways to ensure the “legislative and doctrinal safety of the Ummah (the Muslim community)” in the political landscape, according to the meeting’s official title.

“A well-constructed ideological motive behind the constitution is more important than the constitution itself,” Hizb Ettahrir spokesperson Ridha Belhaj stated on Tunisian radio Mosaique FM. “Yet, this motive is alienated.”

In a separate interview with Tunisia Live, Belhaj criticized the constitutional draft for all of its concessions and compromises and considered it undesirable by Muslims.

“Our Ummah (the Muslim community) is not a panhandler and wants Islamic law,” he said.

Sunday’s meeting is to be followed by a sit-in, organized by Hizb Ettahrir this Friday, before the National Constituent Assembly (NCA).

Protesters at the sit-in – titled “Is there a god other than Allah?” – will decry the absence of any reference to Shariaa law in the drafting of the constitution and the NCA members’ disregard for the Ummah’s will, according to Belhaj.

He stressed that the current situation does not reflect the aims of the revolution.

“NCA members are reproducing the old regime. Therefore, it is impossible for the constitution to have superior legitimacy,” Belhaj explained.

The sit-in seeks to exonerate those in attendance from the faults in the current constitution before God, he stated.

In the media, Hizb Ettahrir has previously challenged NCA members to a public debate and intends to address the three highest-level politicians – Moncef Marzouki, Hamadi Jebali, and Mustapha Ben Jaafar – in an open letter criticizing the political transition.

Belhaj expects “milestone” results at Friday’s sit-in before the NCA in terms of “symbolism” rather than participation.   The sit-in will inaugurate a caravan, undertaken by Hizb Ettahrir members, which will travel across the country to promote the party’s own constitution.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Samir says:

    “He stressed that the current situation does not reflect the aims of the revolution”.

    The aim of the revolution was economic not religious. If Belhaj doesn’t believe this, he should go to Sidi BouZid and ask whether they were looking for jobs and food on the table or demanding Sharia law and a return to the Caliphate.

    If he wants to address the highest level politicians, why hasn’t he included Rachid Ghannouchi, who seems to be pulling all the strings?
    Or could it be because Ghannouchi also want Sharia law and a return to the Caliphate?

    God help Tunisia if this man has any say in its future!

    • zarboot says:

      the aim of the revolution was not economic.

      “khoubz ou ma, ben ali la”

      Ben Ali in his January 13th addressed us and said, “I will free internet, decrease the price of necessary food”… etc. We told him that night and the next day, non, Thank you very much, we do not need that, “degage”.

      Now, in constructing a democracy, Tunisia needs to make sure there is a reconciliation with its identity and culture, it also needs to create a debate in subjects that were not treated and discussed for the last 60 years. Religion is one of that subject where Bourguiba and Ben Ali imposed a vision that is not shared by most Tunisians.

      This is of course not withholding discussion about our economic future and what kinda of society we want for our kids.

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