Just spotted this article, and I think that it is a good warning for anyone who thinks that the Arab spring will lead to real democracy. The article speaks about a Tunisian who is secular, a man who is a creative director and who has been honoured for his work. In April he was stabbed in the head – minor wounds. Just recently a very serious threat was made against his life.
As we expect, the Arab spring is something different from what has been inferred. This is the case in Egypt where we are witnessing the rise of Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the rise of the Salafists who are connected to Al Qaeda. What we had not seen had been a similar activity in Tunisia. It is way too soon to know about Libya since they are still trying to get rid of a very evil man, but we do know that there are elements of Al Qaeda in Libya, and what we do not know is their strength in the total community. Hopefully, someone will report more accurately on this particular subject.
However, this is about Tunisia, and the group known as Ennhada, which is Tunisia’s largest Islamist party. Here are parts of that story that are of interest:
But just a week later, the source of some of the hostility to him became clearer.
At an April 17 rally organised by Ennahda, Tunisia’s largest Islamist party, a speaker called for Bouzid to be “shot with a Kalashnikov”.
The audience, which included a senior Ennahda leader, responded with cries of “Allahu Akbar”.
Distracted by the dramas of Libya, Syria and Yemen, the world appears to have forgotten the place where it all started. It was Tunisians, on January 14, who kicked out their dictator and began the Arab Spring. Now, though, there is growing concern here that the birthplace of the democratic revolt will also be the first country to see Islamists take significant political power.
With elections for a body to draw up the constitution due in just eight weeks’ time – though they may be postponed – Ennahda, according to opinion polls, will be the largest single party, with around 30 per cent of the vote, giving it a pivotal role in shaping the new Tunisia.
Mokhtar Trifi, head of the country’s human rights league, says that manifestations of Islamic radicalism – forced veiling, forced prayer, and condemnations for apostasy – are rising, too, all over the country.
But Ennahda draws support from the less prosperous interior.
And in a fractured political spectrum, with a dozen new parties since the revolution, it has the priceless advantage of a history. Formed, under a different name, in 1981, banned in 1990, Ennahda was the main opposition to the authoritarian rule of Zine el Abidin Ben Ali, with hundreds of its members tortured and jailed.
“We fought against the dictatorship. We have branches all over the country. We are not totally prepared for the elections, but perhaps we are better prepared than the others.”
That preparation manifests itself in many different ways. Earlier this month, in the poor Tunis suburb of Ettadhamen, Ennahda activists organised patrols to protect residents from rioting and looting (the local police, despised truncheon-arm of the regime, had their station torched after the revolution, and are still nowhere to be seen).
And in mosques across the country, Ennahda is moving to take control.
“After the revolution, seven local fundamentalists from Ennahda came,” says Aziz Khasseba, a teacher who is fighting to stop what he says is an Ennahda takeover of the Ahmadi mosque in Boumhal, just south of Tunis.
“They created a committee to control the wellbeing of the mosque. They meet every night, behind closed doors. They want to replace the imam and we’ve got up a petition to stop it. Even in front of the lycees [schools], they’re telling young people what to wear. They’re taking advantage of the revolution.”
In the town of Sfax, Habib Maaloul, the former imam at the el-Manar mosque, told The Sunday Telegraph that he and 15 other local imams had been forced from their posts by Ennahda activists.
“I was afraid,” he said. “I could complain, but the government is weak, it doesn’t want to get into a confrontation with Ennahda.”
Though these tactics are classic Islamism, Ennahda insists that their purposes are entirely moderate and benign. “We say that Islam and modernity can live together in complete tranquillity,” says Arbaoui, the spokesman. “Since 1981 we have respected pluralism, choice, and democracy.”
Ennahda does not want to impose the veil, Sharia law or an alcohol ban, though another spokesman, Abdullah Zouari, admits that a ban may be a long-term goal.
But many Tunisians simply do not trust the party. “Our problem is the gap between what they say and what they do,” said Jribi, the liberal leader.
“There’s one message in the media and another in the mosques, where they are doing a big campaign. There they say that Islam is a package, you have to take the whole package. For politicians to say that, that’s very dangerous.”
Halima Jouini, of the Association of Democratic Women, says: “They never talk about human rights for women. They never talk about the rates of unemployment among women, only the numbers of women who are left unmarried.”
I have tried to highlight some of the more disturbing information. Although Tunisia is not Iran, it seems that the Ennhada resembles Muslim Brotherhood. The methods and the taqiyya are the same. There is the claim that they are moderate, but then they are doing sneaky things that indicates that they have a different aim from most of the country.
Tunisia could be the first country to fall to the Muslim Brotherhood, and it looks like Egypt will fall as well. Anyone who believes the MB propaganda is being totally naive about what to expect. In Tunis there is an opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood but they are weak. This is probably the same for Egypt.
At the same time there is some really bad news coming from Yemen, as that country edges closer to civil war. Al Qaeda is on the rise in Yemen. It is a seriously bad situation.