Hundreds of Islamists rally against new constitution

January 25, 2014 - 6:39:44 am

TUNIS: Hundreds of Islamists with the radical Tunisian group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which advocates establishing an Islamic “caliphate”, gathered in Tunis yesterday to protest against the “secular” new constitution.

The protesters waved the black and white Islamist flag, and shouted slogans, including “Down with the secular constitution!” and “Establishing Islam is obligatory, sovereignty is for the Quran and Shariah (Islamic law).”

“We are announcing our rejection of this constitution which serves foreign intelligence services... We have one master, our Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him),” one of the speakers shouted to the crowd.

Lawmakers on Thursday completed their line-by-line scrutiny of the text late on Thursday, after three weeks of heated debate and disagreement on a range of subjects, including the role of Islam and a ban of accusations of apostasy.

The national assembly is due to vote on adopting the long-delayed new constitution tomorrow, which would be a major step towards ending months of political crisis and would pave the way for fresh elections.

The Tunisian branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir was created in the 1980s but only legalised in 2012, the year after the ouster of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in a popular uprising that also opened to the door to hardline Islamist movements repressed under the secular dictator.

It calls for the sovereignty of the Ummah, or Muslim community, and legislation based on sharia law.AFP

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