Tunisia

Nine months after a popular election toppled the dictatorship of former Tunisian president Zine Abidine Ben Ali, voters headed to the polls Sunday to cast their ballots for fresh leaders to rewrite the laws of the country’s political system.

The election campaign in the birthplace of the Arab Spring has been, among other things, a battleground for women’s rights as voters set out to choose from about 11,000 candidates, half of them women.

On the eve of the elections in Tunisia that will shape the future of the country and even that of the Arab world as well, Western do-gooders and Islamic fundamentalists hand in hand rejoice in ‘Tunisia’s first free elections’ and its access to ‘ democracy’. The recent history of Iran and Algeria have taught us better… And women in Tunisia watch in horror the rise of Muslim fundamentalists, as a possible replication of the Algerian scenario of 1989 .

The role of women in the new Tunisia has been a controversial issue throughout the transitional period, with some fearful that they would lose precious rights from the previous era, and others arguing for a return to traditional values.

 

Early on in the democratic transition, an ambitious gender parity law was introduced to ensure women would have a voice in the constituent assembly.

In a tiny hall in Nasarallah, a poor agricultural village in the hills beyond Tunisia's historic Islamic city of Kairouan, Jamila Brahid is irate. Sitting in a huddle of country women wearing traditional rural headscarves, the 50-year-old villager is proud to have had a primary school education in a place where many of her female friends – mostly seasonal fruit-pickers – cannot read or write. A carpet-weaver who owed debts on wool and has never married because of her obligations looking after elderly relatives, she gives thanks for Tunisia's prized status as the most feminist country in the Arab world. But, she says, Sunday's elections will be the true test.

In a bid to encourage more women to vote in the fourthcoming Constituent Assembly elections, Tunisia has launched a nationwide campaign.

The media campaign to run from Oct. 1 to 20 is an initiative of the ministry of women's affairs and is airing on radio and television spots, plus on posters.

The campaign was officially launched by the minister of women's affairs, Lilia Laabidi, who encouraged women to take part in political life and assert their presence in the Constituent Assembly to be held October 23.

Last December, Tunisians rose up against their dictator, triggering a political earthquake that has sent shockwaves through most of the Middle East and north Africa. Now, Tunisia is leading the way once again – this time on the vexed issue of gender equality. It has become the first country in the region to withdraw all its specific reservations regarding CEDAW – the international convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

Comme toutes les autres religions, l’islam doit prendre conscience d’un fait capital : pour survivre dans le monde moderne, il doit se justifier d’un point de vue universel. Seul ce point de vue rend une idée ou une proposition acceptable par tous, en tant que moralement supérieure. L’auteur s’interroge sur une conception moderne des droits de l’homme existant dans l’islam.

Le 11 avril 2011, le gouvernement tunisien de transition a voté une loi révolutionnaire qui institue la parité totale et l’alternance obligatoire des candidats masculins et féminins sur toutes les listes lors de la prochaine élection de l’Assemblée constituante. L’AWID s’est entretenu avec Radhia Bel Haj Zekri, Présidente de l’AFTURD (Association des Femmes Tunisiennes pour la Recherche et le Développement) sur la signification de cette loi pour les femmes et leurs droits en Tunisie.

On April 11, 2011 the Tunisian transitional authorities ruled on a gender parity law, requiring equal numbers of women and men as candidates in the upcoming Constituent Assembly election. AWID interviewed Radhia Bel Hak Zekri, President of the Association of Tunisian Women for Research and Development (AFTURD), on the significance of this law for women and women’s rights in Tunisia.

Cheikh Adel est entouré de plusieurs dizaines de personnes, parmi elles des enfants, auxquelles il donne cet après-midi un cours sur ce qui est permis et ce qui  ne l’est pas dans l’usage du texte coranique. Cette séance soft, tenue dans la mosquée Awn Allah, dans l’arrondissement At’tadhamoun, prépare un autre cours donné entre les prières du maghreb et d’el îcha par cheikh Ahcen. Ce dernier, qui prétend avoir fait les guerres d’Afghanistan et du Soudan, prêche depuis des mois dans cette mosquée et consacre ses enseignements à convaincre son auditoire de la guerre nécessaire entre, selon sa vision, les croyants (ceux à l’intérieur de la mosquée) et les impies (ceux à l’extérieur de la mosquée).

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