Tunisia needs separation of mosque and state – religaffairs min
Tunisia’s revolution is unlikely to trigger Islamic militancy in the traditionally secular state, but Muslim leaders should avoid mixing religion with politics, the government’s minister of religious affairs said.
“After the January 14 revolution, the country experienced change on every level, including the religious sphere,” Aroussi Mizouri, minister of religious affairs in the caretaker government, told Reuters. “Today, there is no restriction on speech in the mosques. But they should not become platforms for political ideology,” he said in an interview this week. “We are counting on everyone to keep our society open and tolerant.”
Religious tensions have been on the rise in the normally sleepy Mediterranean country, with anti-Islamist protests clogging central Tunis last weekend after a flurry of pro-Islamist demonstrations. The murder of a priest and reports of threats against Tunisia’s small Jewish community have also raised concerns among moderate Tunisians, worried that a post-revolution security vacuum could encourage religiously-motivated crime.
“I think that the coexistance of all religions in Tunisia will continue always, and the Jewish and Christian minorities will always have the respect of Tunisia,” Mizouri said. “They have and always will be a part of Tunisian society.”