Tunisia university dean in court

2012-07-05 18:53
(AFP)

(AFP)

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

Tunis - A dean at a Tunisian university appeared before a court on Thursday on charges of assaulting a veiled student, a case that is part of a long-running dispute between secularists and religious conservatives at the school.

Students at Manouba University known as Salafis who follow an ultraconservative strand of Islam have been pushing for greater piety on the campus just outside Tunis, the capital, as well as for prayer rooms and allowing female students to sit exams wearing the religious face veil.

They have been opposed by the dean of the Humanities Department, Habib Kazdaghli, who has denounced efforts to add religion to the university, and the result has been rival demonstrations, clashes between students and, at one point, a months-long sit-in by Salafis that disrupted winter exams.

A young Salafi student filed a lawsuit against Kazdaghli claiming he assaulted her in his office. The dean has denied that, saying he was only defending himself against an agitated student who burst into his office uninvited.

Guilty victim

"The victim has become the guilty one," he said. "It was I who first filed charges against the two veiled students who charged into my office and ransacked my papers." He said his suit has yet to be acted on by prosecutors.

Kazdaghli is being charged with "violence perpetrated by a civil servant in the course of his duties", a crime that carries a penalty of 16 days to three years in prison and a fine of between $37 and $300.

Manouba University has been one of the most visible flashpoints of the struggle in post-uprising Tunisia over the role of religion in public life.

Under the secular dictatorship of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, outward signs of religiosity were strongly discouraged and Islamists often imprisoned. Since his overthrow in a popular uprising in January 2011, there has been in an explosion of public piety, which has often come into conflict with many members of the secular establishment.

Thursday's brief session of the trial was adjourned until 25 October at the request of the defence.

It was attended in solidarity by many members of civil society and human rights activists.

Read more on:    zine el abidine ben ali  |  religion  |  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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

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
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

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.

Settings

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.