Barnabas Fund - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Islamist "Religious police" th...

Email:

Islamist "Religious police" threaten civil liberties in Tunisia

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Islamist "Religious police" threaten civil liberties in Tunisia

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Tunisia

An unofficial “committee for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice” has been launched in Tunisia as the country moves in an increasingly Islamist direction.

Tunisian-Constituent-Assembly-4X3.jpg
The Tunisian Constituent Assembly in session
Parti Mouvement Ennahdha / CC BY 2.0

The newly-formed organisation, which is supported by Salafist groups, does not have government recognition, but no action has been taken to stop its activities.

The committee for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice – a phrase that relates to a Quranic verse commanding good and forbidding evil – has taken it upon themselves to see that Islamic virtues are upheld in public life: they are aggressive towards women who do not abide by their code of dress, and they make their presence felt at mosques and Quranic schools, where they are trying to impose imams with Salafist views.

In one case, they objected to the new female director of a religious radio station taking up her post. Professor Ikbal Gharbi had been appointed to the position by the government; it seems the committee were opposed to a woman being in charge of a religious radio station, and especially one with a reformist and modernist interpretation of the Quran.

The formation of the committee has sparked fears among many liberal and secular Tunisians about the risk it poses to civil liberties.

Highlighting the example of Saudi Arabia, where official religious police strictly enforce sharia law, one Tunisian commentator said, “Is this the fate of Tunisia? Is this post-revolutionary Tunisia?”

Hichem Meddeb, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said that no request had been received for official recognition of the committee and that no authorisation would be granted. The government has not, however, taken any action against them.

Increasing Islamism

Since the Islamist Ennahda party emerged with the largest share of the vote in the Tunisian elections in October, there have been growing concerns that the country – long-recognised as one of the most Westernised, secular and liberal Arab nations – will move in an increasingly Islamic direction.

The party’s deputy leader Hamadi Jebali, a frontrunner to become the new Tunisian Prime Minister, raised alarm among some observers when he referred to the country’s future as a “Caliphate”. This term refers to one trans-national Islamic state based on sharia and ruled by an autocratic Caliph, as in the early Muslim state. Ennahda issued a quick retraction, saying Jebali was quoted out of context and insisted that the party was committed to republican principles.

Some of those who protested back in January for a more secular, liberal Tunisia feel that the revolution has been hijacked.

One such demonstrator, Maryam Hamim (20), said:

The Islamists didn’t go out with us on January 14th but then they took the revolution for themselves.

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Islamist "Religious police" threaten civil liberties in Tunisia

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Other articles

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Hardline Buddhist groups in Sri Lanka are becoming increasingly militant, and in two recent incidents Christians were hospitalised with injuries sustained in mob violence. The General Secretary of one such group, Ravana Balaya, which launched an anti-Christian campaign on 15 July, said they would “advise” Christians to halt their activities but, if the Christians failed to take heed, the group would take firmer action. Pray for Christians in Sri Lanka who face opposition from their neighbours, and ask God to protect them from further violence as they seek to maintain their witness (Acts 4:19-20). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 16 hours ago

    • Since General al-Sisi became President of Egypt in June, Christians in the country have felt the pressure upon them ease off somewhat. However, a convert from Islam, Bishoy Armia Boulous, previously known as Mohammed Hegazy, remains in prison. He was rearrested on 4 December 2013, charged with defaming Islam after he fi led a public lawsuit to change the religious affiliation listed on his national identification card from Muslim to Christian. Please pray that there will be genuine religious liberty for Christians from a Muslim background as well as those born into Christian families. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Lift up in prayer Christians living in Minya, Egypt whose homes were attacked on 5 August by local Muslims. The violence broke out after Muslims learned that believers in Yaacoub planned to build a new church. Opposition to construction of church buildings is one of the most common reasons behind anti-Christian attacks Scores of Egyptian churches were attacked following the removal of Mohammed Morsi by Muslims in Egypt. Restrictions on the building of churches, a cause of hardship for Christians for many years, were lifted in Egypt’s recent new constitution. Pray that the assailants will be brought to justice and that the plans for the local church building will continue. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Give thanks that ten Egyptian churches destroyed in anti-Christian attacks last year have now been reopened. Around 60 churches across Egypt were attacked by Islamists in the summer of 2013. The assaults were provoked by the ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Although the current Egyptian government has promised to rebuild all the damaged churches, most of the Christians have not yet received aid and some are worshipping in ruined buildings. Pray that the rebuilding process will continue and that the Lord will protect His people in Egypt, especially while they are still meeting in damaged buildings. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Dear Lord Jesus, we ask Your blessing on the thousands of Eritrean Christian refugees who have fled from escalating anti-Christian persecution in their home country, and are being detained in prisons in Egypt. Because they are Your followers, they face horrific treatment. We pray especially for women and men who have been raped in prison, and for those who have been kept chained for months, suffering hunger, torture and abuse. You said that You had been sent to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and to set the oppressed free. Please free these faithful ones, who suffer for Your Name (Luke 4:18, 21). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Oct 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Fund 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Fund & Barnabas Aid are registered trade marks