Tunisia’s secularists under siege by Islamists.

RRD:(I will paraphrase the New York Times piece below,except for the parts in quotation marks)
Background:Tunisia,along with Turkey and the Kurdish area of Iraq,(& Indonesia to a degree) is one of the(comparatively) more secular & sane Muslim majority states.
It is known as the land of “Beer and Bikinis”.
It may be more familiar to westerners by the name “Tatooine”(fn1).
Recently there was a fire at a Synagogue believed to be arson,(though this is disputed)(fn2).
And now a TV executive is being charged with “libeling religion” and with…”broadcasting information that could ‘harm public order or good morals.’”… (As the Times reports).
And three men who came to his defense were attacked by Islamist Brownshirts.
The title of the Times’ article is unintentionally,(if bitterly) comic:

”Tunisia Navigates a Democratic Path Tinged With Religion”

(Video of the assault)

Zyed Krichen et Hamadi Redissi agressés par des salafistes – YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NBgHVA32gHY

Tunisia Navigates a Democratic Path Tinged With Religion – NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/31/world/africa/tunisia-navigates-a-democratic-path-tinged-with-religion.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

…“We’re surrendering our right to think and speak differently,” said Hamadi Redissi, one of the two men, still bearing a scab on his forehead from the attack last week.”…

….”The aftermath[RRD:Of the ”Arab Spring”] has brought elections in Egypt and Tunisia as well as more decisive Islamist influence in Morocco, Libya and, perhaps, Syria”. …..

RRD:Secular protesters alarmed by the threat the Islamists pose, turned out in one of the largest pro-secularist demonstrations in recent memory.

….“Make a common front against fanaticism,” one banner declared.”…

RRD:(What follows is my paraphrase of the New York Times piece,except for the parts in quotation marks which are quoted directly,as well as my summary of the video above.The parts from the video not mentioned in the NYT piece have ”see video” next to them.)

RRD:The movie Persepolis(fn3) was broadcast on October 7, 2011,on Neesma TV.One week later a mob of Islamist barbarians attacked the house of Neesma TV’s director;Nabil Karoui.
Shortly afterwards Mr.Karoui was charged with …”libeling religion”
and with…”broadcasting information that could ‘harm public order or good morals.’”…(As the Times reports)

He faces five years in prison for this ”crime”.

On January 23 2012,outside the courthouse where Mr.Karoui was to be tried for this thoughtcrime,
Mr.Hamadi Redissi & Mr.Zied Krichen arrived to express their support for Mr.Karoui.
(The trial would be later postponed until April).
The Islamists at first seemed non-violent(see video).
But soon Redissi and Krichen were accosted with cries of “Infidel!” , “Apostate!”(source NYT ).
Redissi and Krichen,outnumbered and fearing for their safety,started to leave.
The Islamists pursued them.

Krichen:
….”All I could think was to not look behind me, walk ahead, and not open my mouth”….

RRD:As he tried to escape
Mr.Krichen was assaulted from behind and apparently knocked to the ground(see video).
A woman screamed(see video).
Mr.Redissi tried to defend Mr.Krichen & was head-butted, apparently by the same thug(see video)The police walked with them –for what seems like a eternity–as the Islamists pursue them, screaming at them,eventually,
after being stalked by the Islamists,they are able to make their escape into a building,(see video,a police station according to the Times)

Another dissident,Mr. Abdelhalim Messaoudi, a journalist at Nessma,was also assaulted.

One of the attackers was identified through the video,& was arrested.

The Times:

…”For people like Mr. Messaoudi, though,the incident reflected a months-long trend of thuggery by Salafis, from an attack on a theater airing a film they deemed objectionable,to their brief control last month over a northern Tunisian town called Sanjan.”

“Certain Islamist factions want to turn identity into their Trojan horse,” Mr. Messaoudi said. “They use the pretext of protecting their identity as a way to crush what we have achieved as a Tunisian society. They want to crush the pillars of civil society.”

“We’ve become the ahl al-dhimma,” he said, offering a term in Islamic law to denote protected minorities in a Muslim state. “It’s like the Middle Ages.”

Footnotes:

fn1.

From the original Star Wars movie,& Return of the Jedi,& The Phantom Menace,named after the location in southern Tunisia where part of the film was shot.It has become a popular tourist destination.

Tataouine – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tataouine

”The real Star Wars?”

http://asap.ap.org/stories/319404.s

fn2.

Tunisian synagogue attack disputed | JTA – Jewish & Israel News

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/02/02/2742802/tunisian-synagogue-attacked-by-arsonists

fn3

The movie Persepolis,based on the graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi,is a work about a young woman’s girlhood in Iran both before and after the Islamic Revolution.

The New York Times > Movies > Interactive Feature > Drawn to Life

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2007/12/22/movies/20071225_PERSEPOLIS_FEATURE.html?ref=movies

Persepolis – Movie Trailers – Preview – NYTimes.com

http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/351485/Persepolis/trailers

Persepolis – Movies – Review – NYTimes.com

http://movies.nytimes.com/2007/12/25/movies/25pers.html

Pantheon Graphic Novels

http://www.randomhouse.com/pantheon/graphicnovels/persepolis.html

Persepolis (2007) – IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0808417/

PERSEPOLIS | A SONY PICTURES CLASSICS RELEASE

http://www.sonyclassics.com/persepolis/

Amazon.com: The Complete Persepolis (9780375714832): Marjane Satrapi: Books

http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Persepolis-Marjane-Satrapi/dp/0375714839/ref=pd_vtp_b_4

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Filed under Activism, anti-semitism, Arab Spring, Current events, Free Speech, Human rights, Islamism, Religion, Womens Rights

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