Apostasy ban overshadows political debate in Tunisia

Published on The Tunis Times, by Staff, Jan 23, 2014.

The debate over the role of religion in the constitution has ignited an ideologically-heated dispute between the secularists and the Islamists. Ultimately, the two sides of the conflict, whether public or parliamentary, argued that Article 6 – the heart of this debate- should be worded otherwise to maintain balance. The article guarantees freedom of belief and conscience and the free exercise of religion and bans apostasy and incitement on violence.  

The Islamist suggest a wording that adds a ban on religion insult should be added to balance the article. Some conservatives groups even called for the removal of the apostasy ban.

The consensus committee at The National Constituent Assembly have failed to settle an agreement on article 6 yesterday .

A ban on apostasy was added after Popular Front Deputy Mongi Rahoui was accused by Ennahdha Deputy Habib Ellouze of blasphemy. Mr. Rahoui has proclaimed in greater anger that he was target of physical assassination after the statement of Habib Ellouze.

“A Fatwa has been issued to neutralize me physically in 48 hours.” said Rahoui, Jan 5, 2014.

The apostasy ban will, according to secular lawmakers, prevent any religious-backed incitement on murder.

Tunisia’s recent history of post-revolutionary assassinations which counts as many as two assassinations in one year-Secular leaders Mohamd Brahmi and Chorki Belaid were murdered in July 25th 2013 and Feb 6th 2013 respectively- have plugged the country’s into a political crisis that blocked the constitution’s writing process and deepened the divide between the opposition and the Islamist-led government.

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Tunisia: Let Constitution herald HUMAN RIGHTS ERA, says HRW, on EurasiaReview, February 2, 2014;

Website: The Apostasy Project.org UK, aims to provide information and support for those thinking about leaving religion: /the Problem, /our solution, /your help;

Controversy of apostasy in Afghanistan, on BBCnews Asia, by Dawood Azami, Jan 14, 2014: An Afghan citizen has been granted asylum in the UK because he is an atheist, in what is being seen as a landmark case. The BBC’s Dawood Azami explains why religion is a very sensitive issue in Afghanistan’s conservative and traditional society …;

Mauritanian fatwas attack leftists for apostasy, on Al Monitor, by Ahmad Ould Jeddou, January 27, 2014;

Crisix Signs Deal With Apostasy Records, on MetalUnderground, by xFiruath, Jan 24, 2014;

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