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.

 

Assad: US idea to train rebels illusionary

UN Security Council to on Yemen crisis

Alleged Algerian jihadist arrested in Morocco

Tunisia's Ennahda rejects Essid cabinet line-up

Is female cycling socially unacceptable in Egypt?

Obama vows to maintain pressure on Qaeda in crisis-hit Yemen

Gaza announces plans to ready sea port for international travel

Barrage of rockets rains down on Syria capital

Egypt extends Sinai state of emergency by three months

Syria ambassador to UN to head government team in Moscow talks

Qatar court tells US family to decide on fate of alleged killer

Gunmen kidnap Libya deputy foreign minister from hotel room

Erdogan visits war-torn Somalia amid tight security

New violence as Egypt marks anniversary of 2011 revolt

Yemen Huthi rebels fire in air to disperse Sanaa protest

Gridlocked streets of Saudi capital turn quiet for day of mourning

Islamist websites confirm death of Ansar al-Sharia chief in Libya

World leaders head to Saudi Arabia to offer condolences

Iran parliament starts to draft law on nuclear enrichment hike

Mauritania prison siege ends with captives freed

Syria opposition demands 'radical democratic change'

Tunisia turns the page on political Islam

Iran FM pays rare visit to Saudi Arabia after King's death

Signs of uprising against Huthis in streets of Sanaa

Israel prepares for any retaliation by Hezbollah

New Tunisia PM forms cabinet with no Islamists

Saudi Arabia buries King Abdullah

Britain allowed Libya to intimidate political opponents

Gul calls to Erdogan for greater democracy

Israel Arab parties join forces ahead of snap election

Mubarak sons freed pending retrial

Hagel: US has killed thousands of jihadists

Iraq asks for more weapons to fight IS threat

Half-brother Salman replaces late Saudi King

Yemen leader resigns, leaves country in deadlock

King of Saudi Arabia dies at age of 90, Crown Prince Salman declared new ruler

Europe pleads for more nuclear talks allowance

Israel PM accepts invitation to address US Congress

Huthis maintain tight grip on Yemen capital despite deal

Anti-IS coalition talks focus on threat of homegrown jihadists

Wait for Hezbollah reaction to Israel air strike on Golan ... next week

French flag burnt in Baghdad protest

Mubarak sons freed pending corruption retrial

Saudi postpones flogging of blogger again

Syria opposition in Cairo to discuss Moscow talks