March 16, 2012 08:59 PMBy Lin Noueihed
|A Tunisian islamist waves a flag as he looks at a demonstration on March 16, 2012 in Tunis. Several thousand men and women demonstrated outside the Tunisian parliament today to demand the inclusion of Islamic law in the north African country’s future constitution. AFP PHOTO/ FETHI BELAID|
Carrying black and white flags inscribed with Islamic verses, protesters demanded that sharia, or Islamic law, be the basis of a new constitution that parliamentarians are hashing out after last year’s revolution that ousted Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years of rule and inspired other “Arab Spring” uprisings.
“Sharia should be the principal source of legislation in the constitution. We reject any constitution that does not include Islam as the state religion,” said Sandli Anwar, who held a sign reading “Islam is our religion, the Koran our constitution.”
“Some people want to separate religion from government in Tunisia. We reject this.”
While Islamists did not play a prominent role in the 2011 uprising, a struggle over the role of religion in politics has since polarised Tunisian politics.
Some Islamist MPs want Tunisia’s new constitution to name sharia as a principal source of legislation. Secularists oppose such demands and worry that Islamists will seek to impose their views and ultimately undermine Tunisia’s nascent democracy