Tunisia is considered one of the more secular states in the region. And yet –
Thirty-year-old Tunisian blogger and secular activist Lina Ben Mhenni is concerned about death threats posted on her Facebook page and sent to her mobile phone.
“You see this message is in Arabic, it reads: ‘You infidel, we will kill you.'”
Pointing to another message, she says: “And this is just as clear: ‘We will find you.'”
If there’s anything that’s not secular, it’s the concept of being an “infidel.”
But many of the country’s more radical religious groups do not like people like Ms Ben Mhenni pushing to keep post-revolution Tunisia liberal and secular.
“This is not Tunisia it used to be,” she laments
“Radical Islamists are flourishing in the new Tunisia. They are a minority but have become very vocal.”
Ms Ben Mhenni says those who disagree with her do not limit their criticism to Facebook or texts.
“I have often been harassed by hardliners on the streets physically and verbally.”
Well she’s an infidel.
Ms Ben Mhenni showed me a recent YouTube video of a leader in the hardline Ansar al-Sharia group – which supports the introduction of Islamic law – attacking her on Tunisian TV.
“His statements are misleading really and taken out context to frame me,” said Ms Ben Mhenni, who teaches linguistics at Tunis University.
But she’s an infidel. That’s what one does to infidels.