government on Monday condemned the desecration of the Muslim holy
book and attacks on mosques as attempts to sow discord in society.
On Thursday in the town of Ben Guerdane near the Libyan border,
two mosques were vandalized and Qurans inside damaged. On Friday a
Star of David, a symbol of Judaism, was spray painted on the al-Fath
mosque in the capital, Tunis.
There has been no word on the identity of the perpetrators of the
attacks, but they came at a time of heightened tensions between
religious and secular elements in society.
Since the country’s secular dictator was overthrown a year ago in
a popular uprising, there has been a rise in religious sentiment,
with high-profile demonstrations by ultraconservative Muslims
calling for greater piety in society.
The ultraconservative Muslims are known to have often clashed, sometimes violently, with secular
and left wing groups, and the fear is that the latest attacks were
part of this conflict.
However, all groups, including the left-wing opposition
Progressive Democratic Party, have condemned the incidents.
On Monday, the Ministry of Religious Affairs urged security forces
to find out who was involved in the latest attacks and declared
March 23 to be the national day of the Quran.
Adnan Mancer, the presidential spokesman, stated his “concern and
consternation over the repeated violations of the sacred as well
as symbols of national unity.”
Tunisia’s 10 million people are overwhelmingly Muslim. There are
also 1,500 Jews and a small number of Christians.