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Question: The Arab Spring, Can Tunisia continue the momentum they started? CPNN article: Tunisia opts for civil, not Sharia law as assembly votes on new consti
CPNN Administrator
Posted: Dec. 31 1999,17:00

This discussion question applies to the following articles:

Tunisia opts for civil, not Sharia law as assembly votes on new consti
Tunisia: Equality of Women and Men in New Consitution
Nouvelle Constitution, un moment clé pour la démocratie en Tunisie
New Constitution a defining moment for democracy in Tunisia
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CPNN Administrator
Posted: Jan. 12 2014,19:19

The following commentary is translated from Martine Gozlan in Marianne

No, the Sharia is not being applied, and yes, the charge of apostasy is prohibited.  No, Islam is no longer the source of law, and yes, the woman is the equal of the man . And freedom of conscience is protected.  Tunisians, with a minimum of violence and a maximum of reason, have fought for a constitution that rejects obscurantism and opens the door to a secular hope in the Arab world.

Moreover, there is no longer the choice of the bearded or the képi.   If Islam is to bite the dust, there must tanks in the streets.   And the Islamists,  of course, have the hideouts and the explosives.  Moreover, there is no choice: it is blood for blood and the exclusion of the other from the making of history.   And besides, they touched the Tunisian people, who rejected it.   The people rejected it clearly with all their force.  The dead could be counted on the fingers of one hand but it was already too much.  Those who began to drift towards the shores of unreason, tempted by the savage and radically alien, they were driven back by protests, despite how the lyrical illusion and thirst for revenge that follows  every revolution miraculously gave them power. But it was a power lent by the people, and they could not hold onto it when they tried to claim a pseudo- democratic eternity of divine right !

And look at Tunisia now!  Tunisian society has become secular and open, with a dynamic opposition, obtained through struggle for a Constitution that will safeguard freedoms, despite the opposition of the Islamists.   No, Islam is no longer the source of the law, and this definitely excludes Sharia religious law. Yes, to accuse a citizen of apostasy for renouncing  Islam is now a crime.  This is a first in the Arab world!  And should the amendment of Article 6, which was fiercely debated, a major fault of a new member of Ennahda famous for his poor skills of dialogue skills: the so-called Habib Ellouze, who for three years cajoled Saudi jihadist preachers and lost, and who rained a hail of insults and threats on the opposition MP who defended secular ideas. The violence of his outbursts sparked such a strong reaction that the amendment was passed.  As a result, we can no longer speak of apostasy in Tunisia !


That would be the logical and immediate result of the fantastic awakening of consciousness that inspired the vote on this amendment.

But not too fast!  They have not yet completely won, these Tunisiens with their civil state and the freedom of conscience enshrined in the texts.  Nadia el Fani, the magnificent and celebrated director of "Laïcité Inch Allah!", so often threatened and insulted, tells me that I am much too naive to be a Tunisien:

"Be careful.  Don't forget that article 1 that dates from the era of Bourguiba, remains in place, stating that Islam is the religion of the State!  This may not dictate the law, but it should trouble us just the same.  And the new constitution still begins with an invocation to god: 'In the name of Allah, the all-powerful and all-compassionate."  Perhaps you find that secular?  And on Facebook, the comments are unrestrained!"

In sum, what seems like the end is only a beginning.  They are ready to do battle over and over on the unstable field of interpretations.  They are not kidding.  They have decided to go all the way!

And on the other side, the Islamists have not said their last word.  The Prime Minister must announced his Cabinet on January 9 and a new government must start working in a very difficult economic situation.  As of January 14, the revolution will celebrate its third birthday.  The struggle continues.  One step after another towards the refusal to negate the other.

Formidable Tunisie!
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