Have Tunisian politicians skirted the issue of Sharia?

Short answer – not quite. But it certainly will not be secular.

The official government press agency, TAP, reports today that a consensus has been found on the issue of the preamble of the constitution. This is where many conservative/Islamist politicians (e.g., Sadok Chorou) have argued Sharia (Islamic) law should be enshrined in the preamble to the constitution.

The TAP press release quotes Ennahdha member Abdelmajid Najjar:

…the preamble will state four essential elements that will be the source of inspiration in writing the next constitution, namely “the system of Islamic values,” “the reformist andcivilizational heritage of the Tunisian people,” “the goals of the revolution,” and “high human values. “

This is a step further than the current constitution which states in article 1:

Tunisia is a free, independent and sovereign state. Its religion is Islam, its language is Arabic and its type of
government is the Republic.

Of course, it should be remembered, this is just the preamble. In Ennahdha’s draft constitution, Sharia is only mentioned by the time you get to article 10.

Ennahdha leader Rached Ghanouchi spoke about the constitution in an interview with Turkish newspaper, Zaman:

Noting that the new constitution will reflect the will of Tunisian people, al-Ghannushi said the constitution will strongly emphasize that Islam is not incompatible with democracy and modernity. He said all the members of parliament think that some values of Islam should be reflected in the constitution. Additionally, there is strong consensus among Tunisian parties that democracy, gender equality, human rights and plurality should be included in new constitution. Moreover, al-Ghannushi noted that the terms “secularism” and “laicism” will not be included in the constitution.

2 thoughts on “Have Tunisian politicians skirted the issue of Sharia?

  1. Pingback: Constitution watch – updates on the drafting of Tunisia’s new constitution | Kefteji

  2. Pingback: Constitution watch – Reaction and problems with the preamble | Kefteji

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