07/29/2019, 10.07
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'Demonic' Islamist preachers: no prayer over the remains of Essebsi

by Kamel Abderrahmani

In Tunisia, lay people and Islamists mourn the death of their president. But in Algeria and Turkey fatwas are launched to prohibit his burial in a Muslim cemetery. For fundamentalist Islamists, Essebsi is "guilty" of privileging a secular constitution against Sharia. His legacy is the bill for the equal rights of men and women in inheritance law.

Algiers (AsiaNews) - The death of the Tunisian president Béji Caïd Essebsi on July 25th is sparking a strong discussion in the Islamic world about his legacy. First president elected by universal suffrage in 2014, after the "Arab Spring", Essebsi sought to reconcile Islam and modernity, pushing for social reforms that respect freedom of conscience and personal dignity. For the first president after the ouster of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, his country declared seven days of mourning. Messages of condolence have arrived in Tunisia from all over the world. And in his country, Rached Ghannouchi himself, head of the Islamist party Ennahdha, first his opponent and then his ally, called Essebsi "a dictionary of wisdom". In Algeria and Turkey, on the other hand, the fundamentalist world is seeking revenge.

A French proverb says: "Drive away what is natural and it will come galloping back". Which means: you cannot totally eliminate your natural tendencies, nor try to hide them. This proverb fits perfectly with the remnants of the Fis (Islamic Salvation Front) for which the death of the Tunisian president Béji Caïd Essebsi is an unexpected opportunity to raise their voice once again in Algeria, after Algerian society’s rejection of this extremist and integralist ideology during the demonstrations that shook the country. These demonstrations have restored integralist Islamists (a very small foothold), although they hoped to occupy and lead the protest movement.

I consider Islamism a fascist ideology, dangerous for the future of our country and for that of all the countries where it flourishes. Followers have chosen this moment of uncertainty and political, social and economic instability to resume their old habits and the famous takfirist discourses [accusers of apostasy - ed.] on excommunication that cost Algeria a black decade and more than 200 thousand deaths.

After the death of the Tunisian president, Islamist militants and their official Facebook operators began opposing the late Tunisian head of state’s burial in a Muslim cemetery, under the pretext that Caïd Essebsi was a secularist  and that during his rule he countered Allah’s law. This means that he advocated civil law more than "the law of heaven". To be precise: for them, a secular person cannot be a Muslim!

One of the first preachers to spread this poison against Essebsi is the extremist Abdelfattah Hamadache (photo 1). He did not hesitate for a moment to issue a fatwa declaring the burial of the Tunisian head of state in a Muslim cemetery "illicit", thus forbidding any prayer over his remains because for him Essebsi was an enemy of Islam.

Hamadache ruled his position on the day of the announcement of the Tunisian president's death, citing the fact that Essebsi defended the principle of a civil state "rejecting any reference to Sharia".

It is not the first time that this freak has published a twisted and violent fatwa against militants of secularism and democracy. Moreover, he is still forbidden to speak on Algerian television, after his famous appeal in 2014 to assassinate the writer Kamel Daoud.

Another Islamist preacher, Wajdi Ghanim (photo 2), close to the terrorist organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, a fervent defender of the Caliphate as a model of government, celebrated the death of Essebsi from his land of exile in Turkey. He sees it as a divine punishment inflicted on a disbeliever, who had rejected the Koran and held the Constitution. Without a shred of humanity, he declared that "it is strictly forbidden [haram] to pray for his body, either in the mosque, or in the cemetery, or gather around the body of an ungodly apostate who, as God promised, will go hell. " Almost as if God belonged to him and was his private property! It is sad to see that not even death escapes their hatred!

But beyond their ideologies, the Tunisian fruits of the cultural revolution of Bourguiba, know how to honor the memory of their dead and they showed this once again, crying together and united, secularists and Islamists, over the memory of their deceased president.

For clarity, Caïd Essebsi has done much on the side of individual freedom. His giving way to a law on the equality of the inheritance between men and women, as well as his continuing the project of Bourghiba for the secularization of the Tunisian state, will for a long time mark the collective memory of Tunisians. They will remember his work, while Abdelfattah Hamadache and Wajdi Ghanim will eventually be thrown into the rubbish dump of history, condemned to oblivion because of their hate speeches, their claims to be enlightened and their obscurantist ideas.

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