Tunisian constitution 'balance between Europe and Islam'

One of its drafters discusses 'free thought' in Naples

09 October, 16:51

    Fadhel Moussa Fadhel Moussa

    (ANSAmed) - NAPLES, OCTOBER 9 - The politician, academic and lawyer Fadhel Moussa, who was involved in drafting the Tunisian constitution, spoke on Thursday evening in Italy about the country's charter. He was also one of the protagonists of the Tunisian national dialogue, a coalition of civil society organizations that won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

    Moussa, member of the Constituent Assembly and representative of the Modern Democratic group, was speaking at a Naples roundtable discussion entitled 'Freedom of Thought in European and Arab Constitutionalism', part of a number of days focusing on the theme 'On Free Thought'.

    He noted that it had been necessary to find ''a balance between the part of society connected with the Islamist movement and the part that we could call closer to European models''. Moussa stressed the importance of Article 6 in the constitution, which ''met the need to valorize and protect the importance of the sacred within Tunisian society, requiring the state to protect it. It also expressly prohibited other forms of manifestation of the importance of the sacred in social life, such as being sentenced for apostasy, a religious condemnation that could have serious effects at the civil level and could compromise people's safety. The Tunisian constitution, as concerns everything related to the issue of freedom of religion, is the result of an attempt to reach a compromise between contrasting pressures within Tunisian society.'' One of the aspects that makes Tunisia truly a new country after the Arab Spring lies therefore in the fact that ''the central issue of freedom of religion has been dealt with starting from the assumption that religion is a right that can be practiced not by the state as a moral, juridical person, but as individuals,'' Moussa said. The 'On Free Thought' initiative was organized by the Naples culture and tourism councillor's office alongside Fondazione Premio Napoli. Discussion was also held on Middle Eastern issues including the situation in Iraq. Among the speakers was La Stampa correspondent Domenico Quirico, who was held by Islamic fundamentalists for five months in Syria.

    ''I got to know these men from up close,'' he said. ''I spoke to them about God, the only conversation subject with them. They believe they are true Muslims. These fighters come from very different experiences: from a doctor with a British passport to a Tuareg smuggler, from a former drug dealer to a theologian.

    Obama is making a mistake when he says they are outside the third millennium; I instead believe they are at the heart of it.'' (ANSAmed).

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