First Published: 2013-02-27

 

Dance as form of resistance: Salafists fail to stop 'Harlem Shake' in Tunisia

 

Dozen or so ultra-conservative Muslims attack Bourguiba Language Institute, but eventually withdraw.

 

Middle East Online

By Kaouther Larbi – TUNIS

Spontaneous dance: A sin in Salafists’ glossary

Salafist Muslims tried to prevent the filming of current Internet craze the "Harlem Shake" at a Tunis school on Wednesday, but were driven off after coming to blows with students, a correspondent said.

When the dozen or so ultra-conservative Muslims, some of them women in veils, showed up at the Bourguiba Language Institute in the El Khadra neighbourhood, a Salafist bastion, students shouted "Get out, get out!"

One of the Salafists, wearing military gear and carrying a Molotov cocktail he never used, shouted "Our brothers in Palestine are being killed by Israelis, and you are dancing."

The Islamists eventually withdrew, and the students were able to film their production.

On Monday, Education Minister Abdellatif Abid said a probe had been ordered into a staging two days earlier of a "Harlem Shake" by students in a Tunis suburb.

He said there could be expulsions of students or sacking of educational staff who were behind the staging of the dance.

In response, the ministry's website was hacked and a call went out on social media for the staging of a mega Harlem Shake in front of the ministry on Friday.

The incidents come as more and people around the world emulate the craze, which was sparked by a group of Australian teenagers who uploaded a 31-second clip "The Harlem Shake v1 (TSCS original)" onto YouTube earlier this month.

It has since been viewed millions of times.

Video footage, which shows participants smoking, dancing wildly in uncoordinated manner and simulating sexual acts, has spread on the Internet, with dozens of different versions attracting millions of views.

The Saturday version was purportedly staged by students from Menzah 6 district in a school compound, with some in shorts and others wearing fake beards and tunics showcasing the Salafists (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSDJJsvzpbY).

The Islamist movement has carried out a wave of attacks in the past year, including on cultural festivals and Sufi shrines.

In June, Salafists destroyed works of art exhibited in a chic suburb of Tunis which they considered "blasphemous."

That incident sparked clashes across the country that saw police stations and political party offices torched, in some of the worst violence since the January 2011 revolution that toppled president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The secular opposition regularly accuses Tunisia's ruling Islamist party Ennahda of allowing a slow Islamisation of the society.

The education minister is a member of Ettakatol, a centre-left secular ally of Ennahda.

 

Moscow seeks to boost its influence in Kurdistan through oil

Tillerson does not expect Gulf crisis to be resolved soon

Lebanon approves first budget since 2005

Iraq army takes last Kurd-held area of Kirkuk province

Ancient Turkish town set to vanish forever under floodwaters

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike

Yemen rebel youth minister urges children to join war

Iran's Guards show no intention of curbing activities in Mideast

EU will cut some money for Turkey as ties sour

Iraqi workers return to oil fields retaken from Kurds

Kurdish disarray shows resurgence of Iraq's army

Iranian military chief visits frontline near Syria's Aleppo

Turkey issues arrest warrants for 110 people over Gulen links

Hamas calls US unity comments ‘blatant interference’

OPEC chief pleased with oil market rebalancing

Turkish police detain leading civil society figure

G7, tech giants meet to tackle terror online

Iraq’s Kurdish regional government open to Baghdad talks

Tensions flare among Yemen's rebels

Baghdad court issues arrest warrant for Iraqi Kurd VP

Erdogan, Nigerian counterpart to ramp up cooperation

Russian medics operate on Yemen's Saleh despite embargo

Baghdad condemns oil deal between Russia’s Rosneft, Kurds

Power shifts again in Iraq's multi-ethnic Kirkuk

Syrian general accused of journalist deaths killed in Deir Ezzor

Raqa liberators ready for civilian handover, on to next battle

Revolutionary Guards say Iranian missile program will continue

Erdogan calls on three major mayors to resign

ICC investigating several war crimes in Mali

Erdogan says may shut Iraqi border at any moment

Tunisian couple jailed for 'public indecency' over car kiss

Next round of Syria talks at end October

Gazans hope Palestinian reconciliation ends their woes

PSG's Khelaifi to be quizzed in Swiss World Cup probe

UN urges de-escalation in Iraq

Haley: Iran must be judged in totality of its aggressive behaviour

EU says Israeli settlements illegal under international law

Kurdish independence goes from dream to dust

Female commander more than just poster girl for Raqa victory

Saudi airline flies to Baghdad for first time in 27 years

Wanted Dead: France's approach to IS jihadists