Extremist anti-poetry violence in Tunisia

This video from the USA says about itself:

Spoken Word Poetry – Support Tunisia

Written the day of the protests. The day after a man who had burned himself alive died. Days before revolutions spread in other countries and people united in a beautiful cause.

From the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (Cairo, Egypt):

Tunisia: ANHRI Condemns the Repeated Attacks On Freedom of Expression, Latest Attack Was On the Poet, ‘Mohamed Al-Saghir’

Press release

ANHRI, today, condemns the attack on the poet, “Mohamed Al-Saghir Awlad Ahmed” by a group of extremist Salafis at the end of the last week, due to his participation in the program “La Paz” on the Tunisian Channel.

The Tunisian poet “Mohamed Al-Saghir Awlad Ahmed”, aged 57 years, at the end of last week was assaulted by a group of extremists Salafis, following his participation in a Tv program on the Tunisian Channel, in which he criticized the extremist Islamists.

It is worth to be noted that the assault on the poet “Mohamed Al-Saghir,” is not the first of its kind, as Tunisia witnessed during the last period many violations against freedom of opinion and expression. The government did not take any procedures to stop these attacks.

See, eg, the salafist attack on unemployed workers in Sidi Bouzid.

On August 14, 2012 the extremists prevented in the city “Menzel Bourguiba” in the state of “Bizerte” a theatrical show by Tunisian comedian actor “Lutfi Abdali” allegedly “mocking religion” after they broke into the House of Culture (Perm Tunisian); and on August 15 Salafists prevented an orchestra from Iran from performing at the conclusion of the International Festival of Sufi and spiritual music in the state of Kairouan.

In addition 200 activists armed with swords, sticks and stones attacked the Festival of “Al-Aqsa Victory” in the city of “Bizerte” in the north of Tunisia on August 16, 2012, to protest against the presence of the former Lebanese detainee in Israel, “Samir Kuntar,” whom they accused of supporting the regime of Syrian President “Bashar Al-Assad”. Four people were wounded, including a security officer, in addition to the attack on the playwright “Rajab Mokri” in the city of El-Kef during the month of May this year, by the Salafi groups, in which he had serious injuries after being beaten severely on his head and chest.

ANHRI said that the attack on the poet Mohamed Al-Saghir is an explicit violation of the freedom of opinion and expression in the country and represents a challenge to the Alnnahdah Movement, the governing party in Tunisia, which announced several times their respect for freedom of expression, especially with the presence of the statements issued by the Alnnahdah Movement saying that “freedom of expression and artistic creativity, although they are recognized, are not free from all controls” which suggests that they are trying to restrict the freedom of opinion in the country and overlook the repeated violations of the creators and owners of opinion”.

ANHRI calls on the Tunisian authorities and Alnnahdah Islamic Movement to protect the makers of opinion and expression and the creators from the repeated attacks and that the perpetrators of such attacks should urgently be on trial.

Yesterday, a group of Tunisian women affiliated with the leftist Nidaa Tounes – the Call of Tunisia party – reported that they were verbally and physically assaulted during a meeting held in the small town of Menzel Chakeur, located in the governorate of Sfax: here.

Tunisia: Amnesty International Tunisia Calls for Enshrining Abolition of Death Penalty in Constitution: here.

8 thoughts on “Extremist anti-poetry violence in Tunisia

  1. Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (Cairo)

    Tunisia – ANHRI Condemns Storming Tourist Hostel and the Attack On Women’s Meeting

    6 September 2012

    Press release

    ANHRI deeply disturbed by the assault on the hostel in the area of Sidi Bouzid, and the attack on the meeting of women. A group of Salafis did that, in a practical implementation of their ongoing threats to demolish places of tourism, restaurants and entertainment places.

    A group of Salafis of 100 personnel has, on Monday September 3, 2012, broke into the hotel “Alharchana” the only hotel in the area of Sidi Bouzid west-central Tunisia and destroyed the living room in it in addition to destroying drinks stores and do acts of sabotage affected equipment and furniture in the hotel. The assailants also expel guests and despite the absence of any casualties but that these acts made tourists who are in the hotel feel panic and anxiety and some of the same members of the group itself then went to the home of the owner of the hotel and stole some items from him. Despite the fact that the hotel owner informed the public prosecutor after threat of the Salafis of sabotaging the hotel if it did not close, but the security unit did not reach the hotel but only after the withdrawal of the Salafist groups.

    This was not the first attack of its kind in the recent times as a group of Salafis also two days ago attacked a women’s meeting of Tunis Appeal Party in Sfax. Where it is followed by indications that all concerned parties will start using their own methods to defend themselves whether require protection from the member of the tribe, as is the case for the owner of the hostel in the first case or the formation of special protection units in the second case.

    Tunisia witnessed many of these cases for several months on 19 and 20 May 2012, Salafi groups also attacked bars licensed, ravaged and assaulted guests, also clashed with dealers of alcoholic beverages and two youths who rejected these behaviors. That was the first time after Alnnahdah Party victory in the elections that took place on 23 October 2012 and then the incidents repeated.

    ANHRI said that “the assaulted parties who request to private protection units, as a result of the failure of the concerned security authorities to provide protection for them, means access gradually to a series of mutual violence between these units and the government agencies supposed doing this role, especially after the arms entered from Libya. ”

    ANHRI said that Alnnahdah is fully responsible for this incident, as it is the ruling party in Tunisia after the revolution, especially the interior minister, is the man who are assigned to maintain security in the country and he is the third man in the party, who has repeatedly stressed to maintain security in the country and the application of law on everyone.

    ANHRI calls for the need to investigate the incident and disclose the circumstances of the attack and identify the conductors and bring them to justice to interrogate them in recognition of the principle of the rule of law which proetect the rights and freedoms.


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