No attempt would be made to force women to wear the headscarf

Hmm. The BBC is looking on the bright side of life.

The leader of the Islamist party that won the most seats in Tunisia’s elections has said women’s social gains would not be reversed.

Ennahda leader Rachid Ghannouchi promised to strengthen the role of women in Tunisian politics.

“Leaders” promise lots of things; they don’t always stick to their promises. The BBC is a venerable news organization, venerable enough to be aware of this.

But despite the reassurances, Ennahda’s victory is causing concern in some parts of Tunisia, who fear the party could later change its policies, our
correspondent says.

“Ennahda reaffirms its commitment to the women of Tunisia, to strengthen
their role in political decision-making, in order to avoid any going back on
their social gains,” Mr Ghannouchi said at a news conference.

No attempt would be made to force women to wear the headscarf, including in
government, he added.

Uh huh. Ask us again in a year.


  1. Fin says

    “We will continue this revolution to realise its aims of a Tunisia that is free, independent, developing and prosperous, in which the rights of God, the Prophet, women, men, the religious and the non-religious are assured because Tunisia is for everyone.”

    The above quote, from Ghannouchi, shows a serious conflict of values, already, in my mind. The “rights” of God and the Prophet are pretty much completely mutually exclusive with the rights of women and the non-religious.

    At some point, one or the other is going to have to give, and I suspect that such statements have been made largely to secure the secular vote, from non-Islamist muslims, and the non-religious. It is worth noting only the social democrats (Ettakatol) in the election made any comparable pledge to secularism, which is equally concerning.

  2. says

    Here’s what I find sinister about Ghannouchi. He says that he’s for freedom of speech – right – freedom of expression – cool – seperation of powers – neat. But, if that’s the case, where does the “Islamism” fit? I mean, he hasn’t actually said – in this campaign and in public, at least – why he thinks his faith should have a role in his politics and what role and it’ll take. And that leads me to suspect it’s an unhealthy one he doubts will be good for publicity.

    What’s sad about the result is that Tunisia is one of few, if not the only, Muslim majority state where the secularists outnumber the Islamists. Heck, with an appropriate substitution there are a few Western nations that couldn’t match that.

  3. emily says

    Even Malaysia and Indonesia, as “modern” and “secular” as they are, have different laws for Muslims and non-Muslims. And in Malaysia, it’s forbidden for Muslims to leave Islam . . . you effectively have to lose custody of your children and leave the country.

    Right from the beginning of the Arab Spring, thoughts of Iran have loomed large in my mind. I wonder if we will also see more of a push for a pan-national Caliphate?

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