A mayor in Tunisia has caused controversy after calling for all marriage contracts between Muslim women and non-Muslim males to be annulled.
Fathi Laayouni, mayor of El Kram who stems from the Ennahda party, made the call in response to a 2017 order by President Beji Caid Essebsi for the government to withdraw laws – dating back to 1973 – which ban such marriages.
Lawyers and politicians have said that Laayouni has broken the law and challenged the state.
Deputy Speaker of the Nidaa Tounes ruling party, Fatma Mseddi, said Laayouni is breaking the law and the Law on Local Communities provides for the possibility of dissolving Tunisian municipal councils once a serious mistake has been made.
However, the head of Dar Al-Hadith Al-Zaytounia Islamic association, Sheikh Farid Beji, supported Laayouni's decision, and stressed that it is not possible for a Tunisian Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man, regardless of his religion. He asserted that this is a clear provision by God.