Tunisia will not allow Islamists to impose their vision: PM Jebali

By Reuters Staff
November 20, 2012

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali gestures as he speaks during an interview at the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit in Tunis November 20, 2012. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

Tunisia’s Islamist-led government will not allow puritanical Salafis to enforce their vision on a country grappling with the role of Islam in a once rigidly secular society, the prime minister said on Tuesday.

“Militants who have used violence are few, but they can not impose their vision on our country and our people. We will not allow them … Tunisia will remain moderate,” Hamadi Jebali, who belongs to the Islamist Ennahda party, said in an interview.

The role of Islam in government and society has emerged as the most divisive issue in Tunisia in the wake of an uprising two years ago that sparked “Arab Spring” revolts that have empowered Islamists throughout the region.

But Salafis have emerged as an influential force, attacking cinemas and artistic performances, arguing that they violated Islam. They also led an attack on the U.S. embassy in Tunis that killed four people after a film mocking Islam made in California sparked anger in September across the region.

“We will face religious fanaticism through law and be strict with all violators without exception, but we will address the root cultural and social causes by combating poverty and creating jobs,” Jebali said.

Read the full story by Tarek Amara here.
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