Salafist congress in Kairouan draws thousands
Thousands of salafists converged on Kairouan Sunday (May 20th) outside the Uqba Ibn Nafi Mosque for the second annual congress of the Ansar al-Sharia movement. As many as 5,000 people from across the country attended the event led by salafist Sheikh Abou Iyadh (aka Seif Allah Ben Hassine) and Sheikh Al-Khatib El-Idrissi.
Abou Iyadh once fought in Afghanistan and was jailed by the Ben Ali regime before being freed from prison after the revolution. His speech to attendees focused on the economy, simultaneously reassuring investors while advancing the salafist agenda.
"You who impede the wheels of the economy in our country, fear God in our people and let investors invest in Tunisia, and enough of the random protests which harm average citizens and the economy," Abou Iyadh said.
He also called on followers to establish an Islamic syndicate to "give the employee his due", calling on supporters to "break away from the secular unions".
Regarding Tunisian tourism, which many citizens see as threatened by the spread of the salafism, Abou Iyadh sought to calm anxiety. "Travel agencies, Why the fear of us? We ask God for guidance for you so that tourism is correct with Sharia, and for my brothers, we will not change evil with the hand but will change it with the call," he said. (...)