Around 4,000 people gathered today in front of the National Constituent Assembly, calling for the implementation of Shariaa law in the new constitution.
Shariaa is Islamic law derived from the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed. Shouts of ‘takbir‘ – an affirmation of the greatness of God – and slogans such as “the people want the implementation of Shariaa” and “Islam is coming” could be heard in the tumult.
Organizers of the protest, members of the Tunisian Front of Islamic Associations, arranged separated sections for men and women, all of whom were demanding the implementation of Shariaa in the constitution.
Neila Sikhri, a Tunisian citizen participating in the protest, said that she joined the demonstration to support Islam. “We want Shariaa law to be our only source of law. The Tunisian constitution should be inspired from Shariaa law. People do not know the true essence of Shariaa because they have not seen anything about it, so how can they judge it?” she asked.
Naiima Seghiri, another protester, decried what she perceived as widespread misinformation surrounding the idea of Shariaa. “Shariaa is what we need. It is our salvation. Secularists know so little about Shariaa; they only hear how men are allowed to marry four women or how thieves hands are cut. This is not what Shariaa is about, it is a way of life,” she stated.
Wissem Souaii said that he is against man-made law because humans cannot rule themselves by the laws they created. “Throughout history, Shariaa has offered so much to human beings. Capitalism is dying; it proved to be a complete failure. We need an alternative – and it is the implementation of Shariaa law,” he declared.
Souaii went on to decry the principles of Western liberal society. ”Democracy and personal freedoms are all lies, because men cannot rule themselves. Humans’ minds are limited; we do not need law created by the West, which caused people to suffer. Women in the West are suffering under the name of freedom. The proof is that the percentage of divorce is really high,” Souaii asserted.
Supporters of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist party which is legally unrecognized in Tunisia, were also present at the protest.
One member, who refused to give his name, talked about the caliphate -the state ruled by Islamic law – and how it will be elected by the people. “People are suffering from capitalism because it only widens the gap between rich and poor people. In Wall Street protests, people called for the abolition of this failed system,” he added.
The Hizb ut-Tahrir member also talked about tourism in Tunisia. “Tourism is not the basis of the Tunisian economy, agriculture is what we need to develop instead,” he stated.
Habib Jamli, a sociologist and political analyst who claimed to be a supporter of the Ennahda party, said that Shariaa was not new to the Tunisian constitution. “People have the right to protest and express their opinions. However, people also need to know that Shariaa is already present in the constitution,” he said.
A petition was presented to the head of the National Constituent Assembly, Mustapha Ben Jaafer. Selmane Beriki, spokesperson of the Tunisian Front of Islamic Associations, said, “We delivered a petition to the head of the Constituent Assembly. More than a 100 associations will be calling for Islamic law.”