Tunisia Decries Anti-Semitism by Sharia Backers

Tunisia’s religious affairs ministry condemned anti-Semitic epithets shouted at a rally in Tunis calling for the imposition of Islamic law in the country’s new constitution.

“The call to fight against the Jews is absurd. The ministry rejects this attack against all Tunisian citizens,” the ministry said in a statement issued Tuesday, according to the French news agency AFP. “Tunisian Jews are full citizens,” the statement said.

A new constitution is currently being drafted for the country, which is home to 10 million people, mostly Muslims. There are reportedly about 1,500 Jews living in Tunisia.

The rally Sunday held by radical Islamist Salafists called for the imposition of shari’ah, or Islamic law, over all of the country’s legislation. In the Oct. 24 elections in Tunisia, the relatively moderate Islamist Ennahda Party won 90 seats, making it the largest bloc in the 217-member assembly.

Several of Tunisia’s political parties also denounced the attacks on the Jewish community, according to AFP.

The leftist Ettajdid party condemned “the calls to violence, hatred and even murder from fanatical Salafi groups that have again targeted citizens of the Jewish faith,” in a statement Tuesday, AFP reported.

Roger Bismuth, president of Tunisia’s Jewish community, met Tuesday with Tunisian Constituent Assembly Speaker Mustapha Ben Jafar .Ben Jafar reportedly condemned the verbal attacks on the country’s Jewish community and called for its end.

Bismuth reportedly has threatened to sue a Salafist preacher who during Sunday’s demonstration shouted “young people rise up, let’s wage a war against the Jews” to cheers from the crowd.

This story "Tunisia Decries Anti-Semitism by Sharia Backers" was written by JTA.


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