29 January, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 06/16/2012
TUNISIA - ISLAM
Oasis in Tunisia: the unfinished revolution and its future
by Bernardo Cervellera
Tunisia, the most secularized Arab country, after the success of "Jasmine Revolution", is facing the danger of Salafi Islam, also bankrolled by al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The struggle between different kinds of Islam and the place that religion should have in a modern and pluralistic society. The concerns of Christian minorities. The pragmatism of the West.

Rome (AsiaNews) - The scientific committee of Oasis, the magazine about Christian-Muslim dialogue founded by Card. Angelo Scola, meets this year in Tunis on 18 and 19 June to try to understand the emerging trends of the "Jasmine Revolution" that began in Tunisia and spread among the Arab dictatorships, breaking up old balances and opening new tensions and problems.

More than 50 personalities from around the world - academics, bishops, experts, journalists - will meet in the capital for a series of testimonies, studies, discussions on the theme: "Religion in a society in transition. Tunisia calls upon the West."

The relevancy of the theme is evident from the way the Arab revolutions are evolving. What first begin as a "revolt for dignity" to demand labor, human rights, justice, democracy,  have gradually been taken over or endangered by fundamentalist Salafi Islam, shaking the same liberal forces that set the change in motion.

Tunisia is the clearest symbol of this long labor: after the self-immolation of Muhammad Bouazizi, the spark that set off the revolt, and the ouster of dictator Ben Ali (who fled to Saudi Arabia), the most secularized country in the Arab world now finds itself faced with a revival of fundamentalist Islam, which previously was outlawed. The elections - which saw the participation of 80% of the population, a first in the nation's history - led to the victory of Islamists under the banner of the Ennhada party and Salafis. The latter fight to force women to wear headscarves and to re-write the constitution, making sharia the basic law. Ennhada has a more moderate position and rejects the more extreme aspects of Sharia law and Islam, perhaps due to concerns about the economic consequences that these choices may have on tourism and trade.

Earlier this week, the Salafis attacked an art exhibition in La Marsa where they claimed the works were "blasphemy" against Islam, burning some. Police arrested 50 Salafis, accusing them of terrorism. One day later, on June 13 last, a military court sentenced in absentia Ben Ali to 20 years in prison. Fearful of Islamist unrest or tensions created by the former regime, the government declared a curfew from 21 to 5 am. The curfew was lifted today.

But the problems remain and centre around what place Islam should have in a modern and pluralistic society. The Tunisian Salafists, for example, also see trade unions and Communists as enemies, considered "atheists" and unfit to live in the Muslim world. Thus, the "Jasmine Revolution" is opening the way for a debate and a clash between different types of Islam.

The Tunis meeting will include testimonies from several Ennhada personalities, as well as reports from some scholars from other Muslim countries, on the influence of  the "Jasmine Revolution" in their region.

The place of religion and Islam in society also concerns Christian minorities. At first suspicious of the revolution, they became its supporters, before giving way to concern about the Islamist future that lies ahead. They claim a place for religion in society - as opposed to a secular or secularist liberalism, present in the West - but at the same time demand guarantees for them and for every minority, with a right to full citizenship in building society. At this point, is the much-anticipated speech of Mgr. Maroun Lahham, former Archbishop of Tunis, recently appointed Latin Patriarchal Vicar in Jordan.

A portion of the meeting will be dedicated to the position taken by the West, dominated by economic pragmatism and prepared, in the name of stability, to leave room for a fundamentalist Middle East (see the cases of Libya and Syria), while pursuing a policy of exclusion of religion at home.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar (uninvited) will also star at the meeting, which - having stifled the Jasmine Revolution at home - are funding fundamentalist Islam in Libya, Egypt, Syria and Tunisia. It is no coincidence that the Salafi attacks earlier this week started immediately after an appeal by Al Zawahiri, leader of al Qaeda, calling on Muslims to fight for Tunisians to implement sharia in the country.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
06/23/2011 ISLAM
An "ambiguous" Arab Spring and a "squalid" West
by Bernardo Cervellera
06/20/2011 ISLAM
Christian humanism to help the unexpected “Arab spring”
by Bernardo Cervellera
06/19/2012 TUNISIA - ISLAM
Marzouki at Oasis: Christians, Muslims, Jews and atheists, all brothers in Tunisia
by Bernardo Cervellera
06/07/2011 EGYPT
Egypt, after 60 years Muslim Brotherhood party admitted to elections
05/04/2011 ISLAM
Bin Laden "killed" by the Jasmine Revolution
by Bernardo Cervellera

Editor's choices
IRAQ
The children of Mosul and the future: the "five-star" refugee camp
by Bernardo CervelleraIn the garden of the parish of Mar Elia beside the tents there are containers that serve as classrooms for the children and as a library. Another serves as a room for sewing. A children's choir. Fr. Douglas: "Taking care of refugees does not just mean thinking about eating, drinking, medicines, injections, vaccinations ... The displaced persons need to do something and to cultivate hope."
IRAQ
Way of the Cross: the refugees from Mosul beyond the emergency
by Bernardo CervelleraThere are at least half a million people who have taken refuge in Kurdistan to flee from ISIS. In the Shlama Mall at Erbil: 350 people living in the skeleton of a building under construction, with draped sheets and blankets serving as walls. The ordination of a young man, also a refugee, shows that with the flight, there is something that has not been destroyed: the faith, the traditions, the priesthood.
IRAQ - VATICAN
As 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' continues, Mosul bishop notes that Jesus is born amid refugee containers
by Amel NonaPersecuted by the Islamic state, refugees have lost everything: belongings, home, jobs, school, and their future. Yet, their faith and mission remain strong. For them, almost 900,000 euros have been raised and sent. Pope Francis sends a message of closeness. The campaign continues according to the Patriarch of Baghdad's proposal of fasting and moderation at Christmas and New Year, with the money saved offered to the Christians of Mosul.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.