Tunisia: 'Al-Qaeda' tape rails against ruling Islamist party
last update: June 11, 14:16
Tunis, 11 June (AKI) - Tunisia's ruling Islamist party has "violated" the Koran by accepting a constitution that is not based solely on Islamic law, Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri allegedly claims in a new audio message.
The 12-minute audiotape posted to jihadist websites lauds Tunisia's Salafites and accuses the ruling Ennahda party of being a western stooge that "allows nudist beaches and night clubs."
"Tunisia's Islamic party 'Ennahda' violates the sacredness of the holy Muslim Koran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed by accepting a constitution that does not have Islamic law as its sole basis," says a male voice, purportedly that of Zawahiri's.
"Ennahda's Islam is that of the US State Department, the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council," the message rants.
In October last year, Ennahda won the first democratic elections since the Arab Spring uprisings, taking 37 percent of the vote or 90 seats (41 percent) in the new 217-member assembly.
The assembly was tasked with rewriting the constitution, appointing a president and forming a caretaker government. Its nearest rival, the secularist Congress for the Republic, won 30 seats.
Since the overthrow in January 2011 of Tunisia's longtime autocratic leader, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, there has been a resurgence of hardline Islamists in the country.
Some of the Salafites' most radical branches have been holding demonstrations to demand an introduction of Sharia law in Tunisia.
In May, Salafites attacked bars and other places selling alcohol in Sidi Bouzid, the central western town where the Tunisian revolution began.
The same month, Salafite mobs attacked a police station with clubs and Molotov cocktails in the town of Jendouba and later targeted bars and stores selling alcohol.
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