First Published: 2011-11-29

 

Salafists besiege Tunisian university: Dean, professors taken hostage

 

Salafists disrupt classes at Tunisia Manouba University, demanding stop to mixed-sex classes and for female students to wear full face veils.

 

Middle East Online

Salafists’ weapons: Threats, verbal abuses

TUNIS - A group of Salafists disrupted classes on Monday at a university west of the capital Tunis, demanding a stop to mixed-sex classes and for female students to wear full face veils, officials said.

The mob of Salafists also took hostage the dean of the University of Letters, Arts, and Humanities of Manouba along with several other professors.

One of the professors who witnessed the protest said the group threatened him and verbally abused other professors. The professor called on the protection of the army, but no security forces had yet been confirmed arrived.

"A group of Salafists, dressed like the Afghans, have been camped in front of my office since early afternoon," Habib Kazdaghli, the dean of faculty at the University of Manuba, said.

The group of several dozen students interrupted an English class in the morning, Kazdaghli said.

"They want girls to wear the niqab, a mosque in the middle of the campus, a stop to mixed classes and a prohibition of women teaching male students and vice versa," he said, adding that it marked the first such incident on campus.

Tunisia's Salafists have become more assertive in recent months, following the revolution that ousted a staunchly secular regime along with president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in January following mass protests.

The ministry of higher education "firmly" condemned the incident, saying that "all recourse to violence is inadmissible and intolerable."

In regards to policies concerning the niqab, a ministry spokesperson said that "according to current regulations, each student must be able to be identified before accessing the university, for pedagogic and security reasons."

Visible again on the streets of Tunis and other major cities, their new assertiveness has led to a number of more or less violent clashes.

In the eastern city of Sousse earlier this month, some 200 Islamists stormed the university campus after a female student wearing the niqab, or burka, full face veil was not allowed to sign up.

On October 9 in Tunis, a mob of Salafists tried to attack the offices of private Nessma TV station that aired "Persepolis", a French-Iranian animation film.

 

Kurd troops launch offensive on IS on three fronts

Ahead of Tunisia elections, Ghannouchi appeals for US support

Indian PM warns US to repeat Iraq 'mistake' in Afghanistan

Israel PM warns Iran poses gravest threat to world

Syrian refugees try their luck in Latin America

Balkans clamp down on jihadist recruitment

Kuwait strips 18 nationals of citizenship

Israel deploys extra forces as two faiths mark major holy days

Egypt, Libya plunge in good governance rating

Saudi Arabia breaks silence on Huthi occupation of Yemen capital

Air strikes fail to halt advance of IS jihadists in Syria

Rival Libya factions meet for reconciliation talks

Iran-P5+1 nuclear talks ‘to resume’ by mid-October

HRW criticises human rights rollback under Erdogan

Syria's Nusra Front chief warns to transfer battle to West

Obama admits to making serious mistake: We underestimated ‘Islamic State’

Germany begins training Kurdish fighters from northern Iraq

Jordan takes ‘precautionary measures’ to secure borders

Egypt acquits 112 on charges of violating protest law

Shiite dissident dies in gun battle with Saudi security forces

Iraq forces repel IS attack on strategic town west of Baghdad

Russia raises suspicions about US ‘military interference’ in Syria

Yemen capital reels under control of Huthi rebels

Dubai Ruler: Victory over ‘Islamic State’ requires three bigger ingredients

Nusra Front threatens retaliation against coalition nations

Nusra Front urges Lebanon to negotiate for captive soldiers

Iran warns ‘Islamic State’: If you advance, we will attack!

Huthis settle score with Yemen national security apparatus

Egypt postpones verdict in murder case against Mubarak

US-led coalition expands campaign against ‘Islamic State’ in Syria

Yemen Shiite rebels urged to pull out of capital

Time for Iraq's Christians to put up fight against jihadists

Arrests prompt clashes in Arab east Jerusalem

Britain nabs more Islamist suspects

How much is cost of US air war on IS?

France seeks to put Ansar al-Sharia on UN blacklist

Iraqi PM roots out top brass

Iran President slams blunders of West in Middle East

Huthis in Yemen: Shiite rebels or pawns in Iran vicious game?

France pursues ‘Islamic State’ in Iraq after hostage beheading

Kuwait court declines to rule in case of pro-opposition TV owner

Strikes against ‘Islamic State’ put Jordan in 'danger zone'

Latest victims of IS in Tikrit: Reputed mosque and ancient church

Tensions high as Lebanon army raids Syria refugee camps

Palestinian unity talks yield ‘breakthrough’ on number of issues