Thursday, April 05, 2012

Tunisian court accepts Jewish leader's complaint

Roger Bismuth (photo: Leaders.tn)

Damage limitation exercise in Tunisia: the court system has agreed to investigate Jewish community head Roger Bismuth's complaint against incitement by a Salafist preacher. Tunisialive has the story:

The prosecutor at the Tunisian Court of First Instance has formally accepted the complaint filed by the President of the Tunisian Jewish Community, Roger Bismuth, and has opened an investigation into the circumstances in which a Salafist preacher called for Tunisian youth to wage war against the country’s Jews.

On Friday night, Tunisia’s small Jewish community of just over 1,500 will begin their week-long festival of Passover. For Bismuth, the week leading up to Passover has been particularly busy.

He has met with numerous Tunisian government officials and media outlets to rally support for his case against those threatening violence. Pointing out that the country is in dire need of attracting tourists and foreign investments to Tunisia following the Tunisian Revolution, Bismuth argued that the intolerance of some have turned off much needed international visitors who support the Tunisian economy.

His efforts to gain the backing of the Tunisian government for the nearly 2,600 year-old community seem to be working. He has garnered declarations of support from the Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, the head of the recently elected National Constituent Assembly Mustapha Ben Jafaar, the Minister of Religious Affairs Nourredine Khadmi, and Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda political party, which received 89 of 217 seats in Tunisia’s most recent election.

“We have a celebration [passover] coming and a group of families from abroad booked rooms in a Kosher hotel in our country, but they canceled at the last minute [after the March 25th Salafist protest]… that is to say, what happens in the street does not just concern the Jewish people, it concerns everybody,” Bismuth said after his meeting with Ben Jafaar.

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