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

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Pray for eight Cameroonian missionaries who have been harshly reminded of the cost of sharing the Gospel in their country during a training seminar to equip them for ministry. Barnabas had helped to fund a series of seminars, and on the final day of the last seminar they heard that Jean-Marcel Kesvere, another Cameroonian missionary, who had been planning to attend the seminar with his wife, had been kidnapped by Boko Haram and that his body had been found earlier that day. Give thanks for the response of the missionaries, who expressed their willingness to suffer similarly for Christ, and pray that their work will bear much fruit (John 12:24). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 22 hours ago

    • Please pray for Christians in northern Cameroon, where Boko Haram is terrorising people, especially Christians and security forces, just as in neighbouring Nigeria. The Islamist militants openly declare themselves to be Boko Haram, and issue threats by letter, including to pastors telling them they must leave. Two pastors were killed in the village of Assigashia on the night of 25-26 August, hich has caused great distress and consternation. The Cameroonian Christians ask for prayer that God will bring peace and security, that the kidnapped will be released, that believers will stand firm despite being targeted, that God will comfort the traumatised, and that church leaders will know how to prepare their people for persecution. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Oct 2014 00:00

    • “The cathedral in Damaturu now has only about 40 members instead of 450 members. The church in Potiskum now has only about 15 members instead of 500 members… the southern part of [Yobe state] is still very dangerous and most of the churches here have closed down.” A senior church leader in Nigeria wrote to Barnabas Fund in August about the impact on the Church of Boko Haram’s violence. Nevertheless Christians were still holding worship services every Sunday, discipling the young people and even commissioning pastors. Praise God for such perseverance, and pray that a Christian presence and witness may remain in north-east Nigeria. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Heavenly Father, we pray to You for our Christian brothers and sisters in north-eastern Nigeria, who are so vulnerable in the face of attacks by Boko Haram militants. We remember especially those who used to live in Madagali, in Adamawa state, until their town was seized by Boko Haram two months ago. We think of those who were betrayed into the hands of Boko Haram by their neighbours pointing out Christian homes or places where Christians had hidden. We bring before You those who saw their menfolk beheaded, and women forcibly converted to Islam. We cry out to You to intervene and bring an end to the murderous attacks by Boko Haram. We pray for all the thousands of Nigerian Christians who have suffered in similar attacks that they will not lose hope or faith in You, but will know Your peace which passes understanding. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Pray for a pastor in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania whose home was attacked on 17 May; two of his children were injured. When he went to report the incident to the police, he was falsely accused of raping a young woman who had left Islam to follow Christ. The pastor had taken her into his home, along with four other converts, after she was thrown out by her family; it was they who made the accusation against him. He has faced much opposition because of his fruitful outreach to Muslims, and several failed attempts have been made to frame him with false accusations. Pray that the sovereign Lord will help him and that he will not be disgraced (Isaiah 50:7-9). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Oct 2014 00:00

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