Tunisian PM Declares Islam Not To Be State Religion In New Constitution
Tunisia–Islam will not be put down as the religion of the state- this has been stated by Tunisian President Kais Saied. The draft constitution is going to be announced on July 25 and the whole country is out and out opposing the same.
Speaking to journalist recently, he has said, that “The next constitution of Tunisia won’t mention a state with Islam as its religion, but of belonging to an umma (community) which has Islam as its religion.” In his definition, the umma and the state are two different things.
In a challenge to Islamist parties, all reference to Islam will be taken off from the newly done up referendum. This has been confirmed by Sadeq Belaid, the legal expert who headed the drafting committee. Saied took delivery of the draft text starting this week, a key step in his drive to overhaul the Tunisian state after he sacked the government and seized far-reaching powers last July in moves opponents called a coup.
Saied decided the constitution needed a much-needed overhaul, dismissed the parliament and went onto hold leadership, despite the resentment and agitation of Tunisians against his decision. The former law professor has also grabbed power of the judicial system and works on a premises that a mixed party rule only creates confusion.
Going back into history, the first article of Tunisia’s 2014 constitution — and its 1959 predecessor — defined the North African country as “a free, independent and sovereign state. Islam is its religion and Arabic is its language.” The 2014 document was the product of a hard-won compromise between Ennahdha and its secular rivals three years after the revolt that overthrew dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
The new text, produced through a “national dialogue” excluding opposition forces and boycotted by the powerful UGTT trades union confederation, is meant to be approved by Saied by the end of June before being put to voters in July.