Abdelfattah Mourou, co-founder and vice-chairman of the ruling Ennahdha party, was aggressed by a group of “Salafists” on Wednesday, January 23, inside a mosque at the town of Jammal in the coastal governorate of Monastir.
“Trying to perform the ablutions, Mourou was punched on his shoulder by a young Salafist man… calling him Kafir (heretic). Then, a group of other Salafists started to curse at him,” said Fethi Makni, the head of Mourou’s legal team.
“Fortunately, there was no injury, and Mourou is fine now,” continued Makni.
During an interview on Ettounisiya TV yesterday, January 24, Mourou declared that his “Salafist” attacker was incited by the nature of the sermons of the mosque’s imam.
“The imam is supposed to preach to people virtue and unity instead of vices and disunity,” said Mourou.
This is not the first time that Mourou has been attacked by religious hardliners. On August 2012, he was hit on the head by a glass object during a conference on Islam and tolerance in the central town of Kairouan as he defended Youssef Seddik, an intellectual reviled by many religious conservatives.
Mourou declared during the same interview that violence in the name of religion has become a phenomenon in Tunisia and that a national dialogue should be established to address such problem.
Other intellectuals, journalists, and politicians have been subject to similar public incidents of aggression. Political Science professor Hamadi Redissi and journalist Zied Krichen were assaulted verbally and physically in January 2012 by “Salafists” in front of the Tunis courthouse. The attack occurred in the context of the trial of Nabil Karoui, the CEO of Nessma TV, for his channel’s controversial airing of the French-Iranian movie Persepolis.