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Thousands rally demanding sharia law in Tunisia

Tunisia's elected moderate Islamist leaders are under pressure as thousands of men and women demonstrated outside the Tunisian parliament to request the integration of Islamic sharia law in the awaited constitution

AFP, Friday 16 Mar 2012
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A photo of Tunisian Salafist women demonstrating in the Tunisian capital Tunis in support of a Muslim woman who was fined in France for wearing a niqab Muslim veil, Friday, Jan. 20, 2012. (Photo: AP)

Several thousand men and women demonstrated outside the Tunisian parliament on Friday to demand the inclusion of Islamic law in the north African country's future constitution.

"The people want the application of God's sharia", "Our Koran is our constitution", "No constitution without sharia," and "Tunisia is neither secular nor scientific, it is an Islamic state", cried the protesters, drawn mainly from the Islamist Salafist movement.

Tunisia's moderate Islamist leaders, who took power following last year's ouster of strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after a popular uprising, are under pressure from a radical Muslim fringe.

The ultra-conservative Salafists have in recent months demanded full-face veils for female university students, castigated a TV channel for an allegedly blasphemous film and beaten up journalists at a protest.

"We are here today to peacefully demand the application of sharia in the new constitution. We will not impose anything by force on the Tunisian people, we just want that the people are convinced of the principles," said Marwan, a 24-year-old trader.

Tunisia adopted a provisional constitution in December and is currently drafting a new one which is due to be completed around the middle of next year.

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17-03-2012 03:12am
What do we want? A return to the 7th century! When do we want it? Now! Pity the women of Tunisia.
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Selim Khan
16-03-2012 05:53pm
Low Turnout considering the Financial Resources Expended
Despite the large financial means and a great mobilization the number of protesters was around 3,000. So it's disappointing turnout and the mobilization was not significant in a country of 12 million people. Most people who participated in the demonstrations were bused from around the country, the buses were escorted by cars registered in France and Germany especially. Sure signs that foreign hands are pushing the Salafist agenda in Tunisia. Salafism is a new phenomenon in Tunisia, its leaders for the most part are former immigrants who returned from France, Germany and England. So these countries are obliged to help the Tunisian Democrats contain this phenomenon. Tunisians are starting to realize the danger posed by the Salafist fanaticism. Ennahdha lost the elections yesterday for student councils at at the universities, a first loss that will be followed by many others.
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