Sunday, January 29, 2012

A glimmer of hope in Tunisia

Not everyone in Tunisia is happy with the direction the new government is heading, and a protest seemed like a good idea at the time.  The Salafists may be in for a tough road, there are those who are as adamant in their belief in a secular, or at least moderate Tunisia as there are those Salafists who want the most traditional version of Islam they can get.  The battle rages on, but this day went to the white hats.

From AFP/Yahoo January 28

Thousands protest conservative Islam in Tunisia

Thousands of Tunisians angered by the increasing prominence of ultra-conservative Islamists in a country only recently freed from dictatorial rule took to the streets in protest Saturday.
An AFP correspondent estimated several thousand activists, professors, artists and other demonstrators flooded the streets of the nation's capital, including along Bourguiba Avenue, a well-known thoroughfare that became a centre for dissent duringprotests that led to the ouster of dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali a year ago.
Some in Tunisia are angry by the growing influence of radical Islamists, known as Salafists, who have dominated headlines in recent weeks.
Police on Tuesday ended a weeks-long sit-in by Salafists at the university in Manouba, about 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Tunis. The Salafists were angry the university had banned the full-face Muslim veil, or niqab, over security concerns if students were concealed from head to toe.
Journalists have also suffered attacks at Salafist protests.
"We are here to speak out against aggression against journalists, activists and academics," saidAhmed Nejib Chebbi, founder of the Democratic Progressive Party. "And to tell the government that Tunisians' hard-fought freedoms must not be compromised."
Sarah Kalthoum, a retired teacher in her 70s, said she was concerned by what she viewed as regressive ideas from Salafists.
"We spent our lives educating people, and now some want us to go back in time 14 centuries," she said.
Some in the crowd said they are sensing an encroaching religious conservativism in their everyday lives.
"The grocer told me the other day, 'I don't like your jeans,'" said Leila Katech, a retired anaesthesiologist. "I told him I didn't like his beard."
Oh snap!  Bravo Katech, your strength and wit are an example for us all.
Read it all

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