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Tunisia’s Marzouki: Individual Freedoms and Equality Committee forced 'clash of civilisations'

July 16, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Tunisian philosopher Abou Yaareb Marzouki

Tunisian philosopher Abou Yaareb Marzouki, also known as Mohamed Habib Marzouki, said on Sunday that a report by the Individual Freedoms and Equality Committee forced Tunisia into an “internal clash of civilisations.”

Marzouki made the comment during a speech at a scientific symposium which discussed individual freedoms and equality. The symposium was organised by two independent centres: The Tunisian International Centre for the Purposes of Islamic law and Reality Jurisprudence and the Scientific Centre for Scientific Research and Consulting.

Marzouki stated that “the Tunisian people expressed their rejection of the Committee’s proposals because they are against elements of its identity and [its] cultural, civilizational and social values.” He explained that the proposals had brought about a “clash between a minority that claims modernity and the rest who are adopting their historical cultural and societal values.” The Tunisian philosopher added that “the proposals included in the Commission’s report are settled in the West but are not settled in Tunisia.”

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In June, the Individual Freedoms and Equality Committee submitted a 220-page report to the Tunisian President, Beji Caid Essebsi. The report detailed proposals on individual freedoms, including equality in inheritance, the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the abolition of the death penalty. The Committee’s proposals caused widespread controversy, with imams, sheikhs and Islamic scholars expressing their rejection of the report and calling on the President to withdraw it.

Head of the Scientific Centre for Scientific Research and Consulting, Abd Al-Majid Najjar, argued that the controversial issues proposed by the committee should be based on Tunisian culture and values, and not imposed by people from other societies. He stressed that the Tunisian people cannot not accept these impositions, adding that the committee’s proposals violated the culture and values reflected in the new Tunisian constitution.

Head of the Tunisian International Centre for the Purposes of Islamic law and Reality Jurisprudence, Nourredine Khadmi, said in an interview with Anadolu News Agency that “the outcome of the symposium will be part of a scientific publication, in the process of drafting, to be a scientific response and [make] proposals at the level of legislation.” Khadmi expressed hope that this symposium and other discussions would contribute to ongoing debates in the Tunisia surrounding individual freedoms.

The Individual Freedoms and Equality Committee was founded in August 2017 under the initiative of the Tunisian President, with the aim of proposing reforms to the laws of individual freedoms and equality.

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