Tunisia: little girls with Islamic veil, revolt in country

Preacher issued fatwa against Sponge Bob,'homosexual, pervert'

01 February, 16:03

    The preacher Kamil Al Awhadi (from Tunisie Numerique website) The preacher Kamil Al Awhadi (from Tunisie Numerique website)

    (ANSAmed) - TUNIS, FEBRUARY 1 - A dozen little girls, the older not even eight years of age, wore the Islamic veil when they posed around a Kuwaiti preacher who is visiting Tunisia to preach conservative Islam. The photos led to vibrant protests across the country with even 70 lawmakers in the Constituent Assembly signing a motion to condemn what the Tunisian association for the rights of minors slammed as a 'crime against children'. The little girls, the rights association said, were 'used to convey an idea which is far removed from our culture and the noble precepts of Islam' with a clear intention to indoctrinate the population.

    The preacher at the centre of the controversy, Kamil Al Awhadi, said he did not come to Tunisia to change its society or impose religious choices.

    Al Awadhi is known across the Middle East and North Africa thanks to his ability to use television to broadcast his ideas.

    He is also well known for issuing a fatwa against cartoon character Sponge Bob accused of 'homosexuality' and of 'inducing children to pervert behaviour'.

    His visit, which kicked off a week ago, has caused a major controversy in Tunisia with secularists accusing Al Awadhi of trying to exert an influence on Tunisians with his radical sermons. Meanwhile the cleric is continuing his tour from Zarzis - where the controversial photos were taken - to Sousse and Sfax in a tour 'surrounding' the capital until Carthage where he spoke at a mosque. Meanwhile in the capital Tunis, the el Fath mosque considered a haven of the Salafite movement would be reportedly ready to receive him with open arms. Al Awadhi has been warmly welcomed in his tour - with people in Cite' Kabaria acting like football fans - and seems to have reached his objective of broadening consensus in Tunisia around Wahhabism, a conservative form of Sunni Islam which is a minority in Tunisia but enjoys great financial wealth thanks to Gulf kingdoms. This strategy has political as well as religious implications as Tunisia still needs the help of allied countries like Kuwait and, even more, Kuwait. The help does not appear to be without its implications. (ANSAmed)

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