Tunisian Islamist Leaders Rescind their Call for Protests: Apparent Division Among Religious Conservatives

News article, posted 06.24.2012, from Tunisia, in:
Author: 
Asma Ghribi
Language: 
English
Tunisian Islamist Leaders Rescind their Call for Protests: Apparent Division Among Religious Conservatives (Photo: Tunisia Live)

Summary: According to Tunisia Live, the prominent Tunisian Islamist party Ennahdha, along with two ultra-conservative or Salafi groups, Hizb at-Tahrir and Ansar al-Shariah, called off protests in the Al Abdellia Affair. Rached Ghannouchi, President of the Ennahdha party, had himself called for a march in defense of 'sacred values' during a press conference on June 13th, 2012. The protests had been planned to occur after Friday prayers on June 15th, 2012.

According to Tunisia Live, the executive bureau of the Ennahdha party explained in a press release that the decision to rescind the call to march was due to the announcement by the Ministry of the Interior that no authorization for the marches had been granted.  Ennahdha member Ali Laraayedh heads the Ministry of the Interior and his ministry's spokesman had threatened live ammunition if rioting regarding the 'Al Abdellia' affair escalated (See: Interior Ministry Spokesperson Calls Salafist Riots “Terrorist Acts,” Threatens Use of Live Ammmunition).

The ultra-conservative Hizb at-Tahrir, which does not enjoy legal status in Tunisia, said that its decision to call off the Friday demonstration was not related to the statement issued by the spokesman of the Ministry of the Interior. Rather, Hizb at-Tahrir's spokesman Ridha Belhaj indicated that "It has to do with our reading of the political situation in Tunisia. We called for this protest even before violence broke out last Monday night. Now we have decided to cancel the demonstration because we think that some groups will try to jeopardize the stability of the country."