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.

 

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