Religious groups protest secular laws in Tunisia

Story Published: Apr 1, 2011 at 1:00 PM PDT CATU.COM

Story Updated: Apr 1, 2011 at 1:00 PM PDT

Religious groups protest secular laws in TunisiaTunisian demonstrators pray near the Prime Minister’s office as they stage a protest calling for the resignation of Tunisia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi in Tunis, Friday, Feb. 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Salah Habibi)

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) – Police fired tear gas Friday on stone-throwing youths in Tunisia’s capital after a demonstration by hundreds of Islamists protesting the country’s secular laws.

The violence at the end of a day of peaceful, small protests disrupted a period of relative calm in the North African country, where an uprising ousted the longtime president in January and prompted revolts around the Arab world.

It was unclear whether anyone was injured or arrested in the clash.

Protesters held two demonstrations in Tunis on Friday, one by a group demanding more economic freedoms and another by young Islamists shouting “God is great” and other religious slogans.

Their demonstration came as the Interior Ministry announced Friday that women are no longer required to take off headscarves for official state ID cards. The Islamist protesters want the government to remove restrictions on the headscarf in public buildings and other measures.

A strong secular flavor pervades this former French colony, partly because ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his predecessor, Habib Bourguiba, kept Islamists in check.

Even though 98 percent of the population are Muslims, only a minority of women wear Islamic headscarves, and Friday, the Muslim day of rest and special prayer, is part of the Tunisian work week.

Police showed up in force Friday to ring the historic Casbah to try to prevent violence at the planned protests. The Casbah saw tensions during protests earlier this year, in which scores of people were killed when police under Ben Ali’s hard-line regime fired on protesters.

Friday’s demonstrations were mostly peaceful, with a few hundred people, including Islamists in white prayer caps.

In the evening groups of youth marched near the Casbah and clashed with police, who responded with volleys of tear gas.

Karin Laub in Tunis contributed to this report.

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

3 Replies to “Religious groups protest secular laws in Tunisia”

  1. The Islamists are taking over just as we all knew they would, the Caliphate is reforming and we are all going to regret that anyone ever supported the Moslem rebels in North Africa.

  2. We are going to regret having any dealings with Muslims anywhere, OPEC included.

    The photo is perfectly revealing of one very strong aspect of Muslim communities around the world.

    When Muslims pray in Parisian streets or en-masse in Washington DC, they are showing you their strength in numbers. Its pretty much the same as when the Chinese armed forces parade on May Day or when the Nazis held their rallies in Germany. Its an utter symbol of political power.

    When Muslims were ordered by the founder of their cult to pray five times per day with others, he was telling them to note who was not there with them. If your neighbors or family members aren’t in the mosque with you, they could be apostates, and you know what that means in Islam; death. Its a not-so-subtle symbol that Islam has you and yours by the short and curlys.

    So on the one hand, they are telling us that they have numbers. On the other they are telling each other to toe the line or be killed as apostates.

    Either way, its hardly a religious act when both reasons are there for control and conquest.

  3. The Moslem Brotherhood is taking control all over North Africa and the “useful idiots” of the West are saying that they will be voted out in the next election, the next elections there will be stage managed like the Iranian elections are.

    RRWest you are doing the world a big service by helping to educate the people who don’t understand how cults and dictators operate, please keep up the good work.

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