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Tunisia: Salafis Run Amok over ‘Blasphemous’ Art Works
Written by Ahmed Medien On 21 June 2012 @ 13:29 pm | 3 Comments
In Arabic, Arts & Culture, Citizen Media, English, French, Middle East & North Africa, Photos, Politics, Protest, Religion, Tunisia, Weblog, Youth
A group of Salafist s attacked an art exhibition, Le Printemps des Arts, in La Marsa, (north suburb of Tunis) destroying some of the art works deemed blasphemous to Islam. The small, yet grave incident, soon grew in proportion when hundreds of Salafists – or thugs – attacked a police station in La Marsa, burnt a tribunal in Sidi Hussein (south of Tunis) and stopped police and firefighters from intervening. Clashes with police were reported in two neighborhoods throughout metropolitan Tunis and coastal city Sousse.
The aftermath led to a curfew, starting from Monday, June 12th, after the escalation of violence, in Metropolitan Tunis, Sousse, Monastir, Tabarka, and in other inland regions, including Gabes and Ben Guerdane.
An Interior Ministry official was quoted by the media as saying 162 people had been detained and 65 members of the security forces wounded in the incident.
Since a photography exhibition started such unprecedented hatred and upheaval in the country, the course of the events will be reported in photographs as well. Dozens of pictures were shared among Tunisian citizens who couldn't hide their astonishment – or perhaps amusement – regarding this strange incident.
The controversial photos
Netizens shared the photographs, deemed both blasphemous and insulting to Muslims in Tunisia, on social networks. Their exhibition permitted some hardline Islamists to call for the murder of the young artists who created them. Another fatwa (religious edict) was also issued to murder prominent politicians.
Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhenni  captured the damages created by the Salafi riot on two police stations in La Marsa and Carthage Byrsa.
The government condoned the allegations against the artists, fueling more tension and division among the Tunisian society. The minister of culture reiterated that there were indeed art works, offensive to Islam, and criticized the artists “lack of knowledge” and “amateurishness”. He publicly undermined the meaningfulness and beauty of the photos at the exhibitions. Meanwhile, calls for more protests and violence did not stop.
The government's reaction triggered the outcry of Tunisian netizens who preferred to express themselves with caricatures and photos.
Willis Fromtunis , shared caricatures to stress the irony of the situation:
The irony in these two lines is while artists – or writers – accused of blasphemy in the Muslim world are often tried under charges such as disturbing public order, it is usually other people who cause this trouble to the public order and who go unpunished.
Other citizens couldn't hide their frustration with the government, the current situation, and the increasing Salafi phenomena.
Photo courtesy to Caroline Law 
Photo courtesy to the Facebook page “United Pages for Gossip .”
Photo courtesy Ghaith Jelassi 
The image is in reference to the French show, have you ever seen..? .
Photo courtesy to the Facebook page Flask .
Photo courtesy to the Facebook page VTV Villains TV 
The tension escalated over a couple of days, until netizens spreadheaded a new message of reconciliation entitled “There aren't two Tunisias.”
A new flash mob has reappeared in social media. The flash mob was originally made some months before by two Tunisian civil society associations, Engagement Citoyens  and ACTIF.
The video exists in both French and Arabic.
Other photos have appeared to reunite Tunisians, those who are religious and those who aren't.
The curfew was lifted on Friday, June 15th, and the situation is now under control.
Article printed from Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org
URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/06/21/tunisia-salafis-run-amok-over-blasphemous-art-works/
URLs in this post:
 Salafist: http://www.answers.com/topic/salafism
 grew in proportion : http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/12/us-tunisia-salafis-clash-idUSBRE85B0XW20120612
 Lina Ben Mhenni: http://atunisiangirl.blogspot.com/2012/06/les-incidents-de-la-marsa-salfistes-ou.html
 Willis Fromtunis: https://www.facebook.com/willis.fromtunis
 Caroline Law : https://www.facebook.com/MAEVALINE
 United Pages for Gossip: https://www.facebook.com/tanbir.Tun
 Ghaith Jelassi: https://www.facebook.com/Ghaith.J
 have you ever seen..?: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avez-vous_d%C3%A9j%C3%A0_vu..%3F
 Flask: http://globalvoicesonline.orgfacebook.com/flask.tn
 VTV Villains TV: https://www.facebook.com/vtvnow
 Engagement Citoyens: https://www.facebook.com/engagementcitoyen/timeline
 Il n'y a pas "deux" Tunisie (flash mob): http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xptugx_il-n-y-a-pas-deux-tunisie-flash-mob_webcam
 mirelle67: http://www.dailymotion.com/mirelle67
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