A shrine in Sidi Bou Said, a famous tourism destination in the northern suburb of Tunis, was burned on Saturday night, confirmed a source in Sidi Bou Said’s police station.
This attack was strongly condemned by all parties as well as high-level officials including Minister of Interior Ali Laarayedh and President Moncef Marzouki.
Laarayedh visited the scene yesterday and declared it an act of arsony.
“A plan of action will be worked out by the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Culture to preserve historical monuments, such as mausoleums and religious monuments,” announced Laarayedh when he along with the minister of culture visited the destruction of the shrine yesterday.
In an official statement, the ruling Ennahdha party called for an investigation to identify the perpetrators and condemned the burning of the shrine as a “heinous” crime.
Yamina Zoghlami, a National Constituent Assembly (NCA) member affiliated with Ennahdha, considered this latest aggression against the shrine as a violation of the government’s reputation.
“The minister of interior, the minster of religious affairs, and the Minister of Culture must all assume their responsibilities in protecting our religious monuments and patrimony because these acts have become planned and calculated,” said Zoghlami.
Several shrines dedicated to Muslim saints have been torched or looted in recent months in Tunisia such as those of Saida Manoubia and Sidi Abdel Aziz. The blame for such attacks have been placed on hardline Salafists whose radical version of Sunni Islam does not tolerate saints or shrines.
Adel Almi, the president of the Moderate Association for Awareness and Reform, denied the accusations, which were published on social networks, that his organization’s members were involved in the burning of the shrine, reported Tunisian radio Mosaique FM yesterday.