Tunisia denounces anti-Semitic slogans

2012-03-27 21:35

Tunis - Tunisia's religious affairs ministry and several political parties on Tuesday denounced anti-Semitic slogans chanted at a weekend protest demanding the imposition of shari'ah, or Islamic law.

"The call to fight against the Jews is absurd. The ministry rejects this attack against all Tunisian citizen," it said in a statement, stressing that "Tunisian Jews are full citizens".

Tunisia - a Muslim majority country of more than 10 million - is home to a Jewish minority of about 1 500.

The threats were made at a rally in Tunis on Sunday demanding that shari'ah become the main source of legislation in the new constitution currently being drafted, media reports said.

A similar incident took place in January during a visit to Tunisia by Palestinian Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.

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

Ettakatol, a junior partner in the governing coalition led by moderate Islamist party Ennahda, voiced a similar sentiment.

"These are unacceptable slogans and we reiterate our solidarity with the Jewish community", its spokesperson Mohamed Bennour told AFP.

The presidency of the National Constituent Assembly voiced its "deep concern" and denounced the "slogans aimed at sowing discord within the Tunisian society of all races and backgrounds".

The leader of the Ennahda party, Rached Ghannouchi, on Monday vowed that "Tunisia guarantees the rights of all citizens. We defend all minorities including the Jewish minority".

The representative of the Jewish community, Roger Bismuth, was received on Tuesday by Speaker Mustapha Ben Jafar.

"I told him that what happened has consequences both inside Tunisia and abroad. We need tourism, the season is starting and what happened is not good for tourism," Bismuth said on radio Mosaique.

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