Tunisia imam arrest sparks fears on preaching curbs

Imam Khamis El Mejri was arrested for preaching in a mosque without a government permit.

Tunisia imam arrest sparks fears on preaching curbs

World Bulletin / News Desk

Tunisians have met the arrest of prominent imam Khamis El Mejri with uproar, who was detained for "preaching without a permit," on Monday in the capital Tunis.

Tunisians expressed their fears that the arrest signifies a curb on public preaching and efforts to control local mosques.

"El Mejri’s arrest is against the essence [of] democracy and against freedom of speech," another imam told Al Jazeera. "He’s just an imam who loves his religion and wants the best interests of Muslims."

According to Abdessalem El Atoui, the secretary-general of the union for religious officials, El Merji was not part of the exclusive group of government endorsed scholars and therefore had no right to preach.

Howeveri El Atoui added that preachers still had the freedom to even go as far as criticize the government in other environments, but mosque preaching is only for government endorsed scholars.

While in June it was estimated that 76 mosques operate outside government control, Assabah newspaper last week quoted the Religious Affairs Minister Mounir Klibi, who put the figure at 149.

Last Mod: 11 Mart 2014, 15:50
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