Thursday, December 01, 2011

Thousands of Tunisians Protest Against Religious Extremism

I'm not sure what the Tunisian people expected when they voted for the Ennahda Party giving the so-called moderate Islamists a majority of parliamentary votes.  But you get what you vote for, though apparently there are those who are not very happy with what they got, and have once again taken to the streets.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside Tunisia’s constituent assembly Thursday to protest against corruption, unemployment and religious fundamentalists.

According to AFP estimates, between 2,000 and 3,000 students, teachers, miners and others assembled outside the Bardo Palace, where Tunisian lawmakers are gathering to draft a new constitution.

The protest comes partly in response to ongoing demonstrations at a university outside the capital Tunis, where Islamists have been calling for women students to wear head scarves and gender segregation in classes.

University professors at the protest chanted "No to extremism" and “Hands off the teachers,” among other slogans.

Students held placards protesting headscarves, known locally as niqabs.

“Neither mini-skirts nor niqabs” and “If you want to wear the niqab, do it at home,” were among the messages spotted.

After decades of living under President Ben Ali's secular albeit dictatorial leadership, you'd think the Tunisians would  have taken advantage of driving on the road towards democracy by not voting for Islamists. But they dumped one form of oppressive/suppressive governance for another, which will eventually turn out to be far worse in the long run.  It has already started with the Salafists- the worst of the lot- who have started pushing the envelope of religious fundamentalism.  I'm sure the "moderates" won't be too far behind.

Hopefully, though, the people will be able to nip this thing in the bud, before it turns into another Iran.

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