Tunisian Salafis attack alcohol sellers in capital

By REUTERS
October 28, 2012 18:15

 
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TUNIS - Clashes broke out between alcohol sellers and hardline Salafi Muslims in the Tunisian capital, a security official said on Sunday, wounding a police commander in the latest illustration of religious tensions in the home of the "Arab Spring."

Tunisia, whose authoritarian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown by a popular uprising last year, now has an elected Islamist-led government.

The struggle over the role of religion in government and society has since emerged as the most divisive issue in the North African country, which for decades was considered one of the most secular countries in the Arab world.

On Saturday night, a group of hardline Salafi Muslims attacked alcohol vendors in their small shops, a security official said. Police intervened to stop the violence.

Last month, dozens of Salafi Muslims attacked a hotel in Sidi Bouzid, the birthplace of Tunisia's revolution, because it was serving alcohol. They destroyed furniture and smashed bottles of alcohol.

Tension has been growing between Islamists and secularists since the Islamist Ennahda Movement won an election last year.

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