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.

 

Saudi warns of 'disastrous consequences' over US 9/11 law

3,800 Syrian civilians killed by Russian strikes in one year

World leaders attend Shimon Peres’ funeral

UN warns 100,000 people trapped in South Sudan town

Bulgaria approves full-face Islamic veil ban

Jordanians rally against gas deal with Israel

Israel pays Turkey $20 million compensation for Gaza flotilla raid

Egypt MP suggests university virginity tests

Morocco to speed repatriation of citizens in Germany illegally

Turkey opposition leader condemns Erdogan’s ‘coup against democracy’

French jets set off to join action as battle for Mosul looms

Moroccan left hopes to offer 'third way' at polls

Renault signs Iran auto venture

Saudi border guard killed, 3 civilians hurt by shelling from Yemen

Turkey issues warrants for judicial, prison staff

MSF warns Syria, Russia to stop ‘bloodbath’ in Aleppo

Russia waiting to see OPEC freeze deal details

Police raid Casablanca market after rumours of sex dolls

UN warns 700,000 will need aid once Mosul offensive starts

Saudi seeks oil leadership in economic pinch

Egypt court suspends block on island transfer to Saudi

Bid for international Yemen war probe fails at UN

UN warns 'hundreds' in Aleppo need medical evacuation

Palestinian president to attend Peres funeral

King Abdullah visits home of murdered writer

Amnesty accuses Sudan of using chemical arms against Darfur civilians

Bahrain says 9/11 bill will harm US

9/11 bill puts US, Saudi cooperation in question

UN envoy says Syria talks 'very difficult with bombs falling'

Erdogan says Moody's was 'bought' after downgrade

Erdogan: Turkey may need state of emergency for more than a year

Iraqi activist wins Norway rights prize

Kidnapped German woman, baby freed in Syria

Turkey stops Kurdish TV broadcasts

A year of bombing in Syria triggers limited interest in Russia

Obama defends refusal to use military force to end Syria civil war

US Congress overrides Obama's veto of Saudi 9/11 bill

OPEC agrees deal to cut oil output

Palestinians react to death of Peres

Poverty takes toll in rebel-held Yemen fishing village

Kerry threatens to end negotiations with Russia on Syria

Kuwaiti court scraps petrol price hike

Iraq requests more US troops to take on IS in Mosul

Airstrikes hit hospitals in rebel-held Aleppo

Iran nuclear chief says not worried about Trump