.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Secularists, Salafists clash at Tunisia university

From AFP:
Hundreds of demonstrators calling for women to be allowed to wear the Muslim veil in class clashed with students at a university outside Tunis on Tuesday for the second day running.

Protesters wearing the veil and bearded men wearing the Muslim tunic shouted “God Is Great”, facing other students responding “Islamists, Go Home.”

The demonstration at the University of Manouba, west of Tunis, came a day after a group of Salafists disrupted classes there, demanding a stop to mixed-sex classes and for female students to wear full-face veils.

“A group of Salafists, dressed like Afghans, have been camped in front of my office since early afternoon,” Habib Kazdaghli, the dean of faculty at the University of Manuba, told AFP on Monday.

Tutors and union representatives voted at a general assembly on Tuesday to go on strike Thursday in protest at the incidents.

Several students and teaching staff said demonstrators were not enrolled at the university, and many were allegedly “agitators” from working-class neighbourhoods near the Manouba campus.

“This is not what the revolution was about,” one student said.

Two officials of the Islamist Ennahda party which swept to power in October 23 elections were involved in attempts to resolve the crisis.

Pro-headscarf demonstrators denied they were Salafists, a fundamentalist branch of Islam, and said they had not asked for mixed-sex classes to be stopped.

“We want two things: a prayer room inside the faculty and the right for girls wearing the headscarf to sit exams and attend classes,” said Anis Rezgui, a first-year student.
The article mixes up veils and headscarves. From an earlier Reuters article, I believe that it is only the veil that is banned at Tunisian universities.