On October 14 a Tunisian television station aired “Persepolis,” an animated movie about a girl coming of age during the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. The film won the Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes film festival, but its depiction of Allah as an old, bearded man upset Tunisia’s ultra-conservative religious radicals. Islam generally prohibits creating or showing images of God, Muhammad and other Muslim prophets.
After two days of mostly peaceful protests, one group estimated to be as large as 100 men rioted — torching the home of Nabil Karoui, the TV station’s top executive. Witnesses said the rioters arrived in taxicabs, armed with Molotov cocktails and knives. A similar group attempted to attack the TV station itself.
Karoui, his own home in ruins, apologized for airing the film.
Tunisia will hold national elections on Sunday, and these sometimes explosive sectarian tensions will surely play a part.
For westerners, the episode is reminiscent of the 2005 controversy over a Danish newspaper’s decision to publish a dozen editorial cartoons, each depicting Muhammed. But in Tunisia the political backdrop — Sunday’s election — is far more immediate.
Is recent violence in the North African country the expression of a tiny minority? Or is Tunisia a nation ruled by religious fervor?
The Daily Caller’s Asma Ghribi, herself a Tunisian native, walks us through the seeming contradictions.
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