Tunis- Tunisia, the legal expert, Sadek Belaid, charged last month by the president to rewrite a new constitution, finally presented it to the public.
Sadek Belaid, 83, the head of the committee to draft a new constitution, declares that his draft has wiped out any reference to Islam as the religion of the state.
The 2011 revolution that broke out in Tunisia reinforced in its first article of the constitution that, despite leaning on the European norms, particularly the French, Islam is “the religion of the state”. “a free, independent and sovereign state, Islam is its religion and Arabic is its language".
Ignoring that 80 per cent of Tunisians follow the religion of Islam, Sadek Belaid states that “actually 80 per cent of the Tunisian population are against extremism and are against the existence of any religious references in politics”.
Similarly to the president's statement at Tunis-Carthage International Airport, Sadek Belaid asserts that the new constitution is to demolish Islam as the state religion. “In our new constitution, we won’t talk about a state religion, but rather a nation whose religion is Islam, and the term nation is different from the state”, he said.
“In dictatorial regimes, they make idols and then worship them, which is a kind of polytheism! The case is not in the Al- Latt and Uzza ( two goddesses of the pagan Arabs), they made al-Latt and Uzza in the twenty-first century and then they worship them themselves”, Said the president as a criticism of his arch-rivals Elnahdha party.
The president’s plans to eradicate any reference to Islam sparked a heated debate in a country where its large majority are Muslims.
Following Saied’s statement, a member of the Board of Directors of The Arab Association of Constitutional Law, Salsabil Kelebi said that “state religion is a common term and has meaning in constitutional jurisprudence”. As she heavily disavows repudiates the president's explanations of his decision.
Answering reporters' questions on Tunisia’s government system, Said declared, "what is important is that power and authority are for the people, and Tunisians are to decide”.
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