President of the Tunisian Jewish Community to Take Salafist Preacher to Court
March 27, 2012
By: Kouichi Shirayanagi
The President of the Tunisian Jewish Community Roger Bismuth has expressed deep concern over the security of Tunisia’s Jewish Community, and has called on the government to take immediate action against those who incite hatred against others.
During Sunday’s Salafist demonstration on Avenue Habib Bourguiba, one Salafist preacher shouted “young people rise up, let’s wage a war against the Jews,” to a cheering crowd chanting “God is great.”
Bismuth announced that he will be taking legal action against the Salafist preacher. “We can’t have this violent speech in our country… it is not the first time this has happened… it is totally unacceptable and I am going to take him to court,” said Bismuth.
While Bismuth told Tunisia Live he has been unable to meet today with Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, he paid a visit to the President of the Constituent Assembly Mustapha Ben Jaafar, who strongly condemned the Salafist preacher.
Mofdi Mossadi, a spokesman for Ben Jaafar, told local radio station Mosaique FM that Ben Jaafar strongly condemned verbal abuse against Tunisia’s Jewish community and that it was critical that hateful rhetoric end.
During a press conference yesterday, Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia’s Islamist political party Ennahda, promised to defend the rights of all of Tunisia’s minority communities. “Tunisia defends the rights of all citizens. We will fight for the rights of all our minorities, including the Jewish minority,” Ghannouchi said.
According to Tunisian State News agency, TAP, the Ministry of Religious Affairs has also condemned “all calls to fight Jews,” and deemed the incident on Avenue Habib Bouguiba to be an “isolated act.”
Bismuth reported that many Tunisian Muslims have called him to thank him for speaking out against the Salafist preacher, and have expressed their solidarity with Tunisia’s Jewish community. “If we don’t do something about this now, incidents like this will only get worse,” said Bismuth.