After the breakdown of Tunisia’s political talks, a party advocating the establishment of an Islamic state protested in downtown Tunis Friday, calling for the rejection of Tunisia’s current political system.
Hizb Ettahrir organized the protest in front of the Municipal Theater on Bourguiba Avenue in downtown Tunis.
“We invite you to create a state like the one the Prophet established in the Medina when he immigrated to it,” some banners at the demonstration said. Protesters also brandished black and white flags bearing the shahada, the Islamic statement of faith, and chanted “the Umma [Islamic world] wants a caliphate again.”
The term caliphate refers to an Islamic state led by a caliph, a religious and political leader.
Tunisia’s Hizb Ettahrir is a small party created in the 1980’s as a branch of a larger movement founded in Jordan in 1953. The party was not recognized by the Tunisian government until July 2012.
Although an authorized political party, Hizb Ettahrir has rejected Tunisia’s democratic transition and draft constitution.
Party spokesperson Ridha Bel Hajj told Tunisia Live that this demonstration was organized to protest the national dialogue process that was suspended Monday after major parties failed to agree on a candidate to be caretaker prime minister.
Bel Hajj said the national dialogue is a catastrophe because it does not incorporate Islam and is being influenced by external pressures.
“We will not reach a political solution within this faulty foundation.”
He said the vast majority of Tunisian Muslims want Islamic rule.
“We are not satisfied in the slightest with the constitution they have proposed,” he said. “We demand an Islamic constitution, not one that satisfied the West.”
“The Caliph will be chosen through elections,” said a man attending the event, “but not democratic elections. Hizb Ettahrir has created a constitution that we will be using.”
Alluding to the ruling Islamist Ennahdha party, speakers at the protest said the reinstatement of secularism under an Islamist disguise is unacceptable.
A speaker at the protest said, “Islam in this county will not knock on democracy’s door to be let in. Look at what their constitution along with the secular catastrophe brought us, from poverty to disease and misery.”
The speaker concluded by addressing a message to the Tunisian government and the National Constituent Assembly.
“Those who do not rule according to God’s laws are infidels,” the speaker said.
He added that the government gave one compromise after the other and did not listen to the pulse of the street, which yearned for the implementation of God’s rule.
“You ran away from Islam to reassure the colonial, infidel West,” the speaker shouted.