Are they “racists” for saying that, too? This minority group also alludes to the fact that the Islamic parties have been dealing in generalities about Sharia, and that the supposed “flexibility” of Sharia that enters into the argument to deflect criticism of its harshest tenets is no reassurance. They know what is coming. “Shari”a Rises in Tunisia’s Constitution-Drafting Process,” by Patrick Goodenough for CNS News, March 2:
(CNSNews.com) — As Tunisian lawmakers wrestle over the drafting of a new constitution, the place of Islamic law is causing contention, but with Islamists dominating the process the new constitution looks set to describe shari”a as “the principal source of legislation.”
Tunisia, the country that launched last year’s political upheavals in many parts of the Arab world, is being closely watched, as observers across the region and in the West ponder the future of the so-called “Arab spring” amid the rise of Islamist parties.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been optimistic about Tunisia, saying during a visit to North Africa last week that she was encouraged by what she saw and heard. Testifying in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, she described Tunisia as “a country that I think deserves a lot of attention and support from the United States.”
Last October, the Islamist Ennahda (Renaissance) party won a plurality of the seats when Tunisians elected an assembly mandated to draft a new national constitution.
Article One of Tunisia’s current constitution, promulgated in 1959, declares that “Tunisia is a free, independent and sovereign state. Its religion is Islam, its language is Arabic and its type of government is the Republic.”
Ennahda, which holds 89 of the assembly”s 217 seats, wants the new document to go further, and explicitly assert the importance of shari”a.
On Tuesday, a plenary session of the assembly witnessed lively debate over the issue.
Tunisia Live, an independent English-language news service, quoted Ennahda delegate Ali Fares as saying shari”a “must be a principal point of reference in our constitution” and calling for the document to be “responsive to the demands of the revolution.”
But Nadia Chaabane, a member of a small modernist group that advocates for gender equality and separation of religion and politics — and holds five seats — disagreed.
“While we need to be in harmony with our identity, we cannot use the shari”a as a source of legislation because it can disrupt the balance of Tunisian society,” she was quoted as saying. “Even if we did use it — whose version will we follow? Shari”a is so vague and unclear — it needs a lot of interpretation. Moroccan interpretation, for instance, is not the same as Iranian.”…