Tunisia Salafists to meet in defiance of ban

2013-05-16 13:53


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tunis - Tunisia's hardline Salafist movement Ansar al-Sharia vowed on Thursday to go ahead with its annual congress at the weekend in defiance of a government ban on the controversial gathering.

"We are not asking permission from the government to preach the word of God and we warn against any police intervention to prevent the congress from taking place," the group's spokesperson Seifeddine Rais told a news conference in Tunis.

"The government will be responsible for any drop of blood spilt," he said, adding that more than 40 000 people were expected at the planned meeting on Sunday in the historic central city of Kairouan.

The government had banned the gathering because organisers did not get permission from the authorities as required by law, Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of ruling Islamist party Ennahda, said on Wednesday.

"The authorities must apply the law without distinction. We support the firmness of the government in applying the law for all," said Ghannouchi, who also condemned the use of violence in the name of Islam.

The interior ministry requires that political parties and associations obtain permission for all public activity.

Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou, an independent in the ruling coalition, said last week he would bring to justice "anyone inciting to murder or hatred... or who pitches tents for preaching in", in a clear reference to the radical Islamists.

In recent months the government has hardened its stance towards the Salafists, who are blamed for waves of violence across the country since the January 2011 revolution which Ennahda has been strongly criticised for failing to prevent.

Salafists advocate an ultra-conservative brand of Sunni Islam, and Ansar al-Sharia is considered the most radical of the extremist groups that emerged in Tunisia after the uprising that ousted former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The group's fugitive leader Abu Iyadh, a former al-Qaeda combatant in Afghanistan, is accused of orchestrating numerous acts of violence, including an attack on the US embassy last September that left four Islamists dead.

Read more on:    ansar al-sharia  |  zine el abidine ben ali  |  north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Trying to keep time for your social commitments and friendships as well as taking care of work and health obligations can be a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.