TUNIS/CAIRO – Last weekend hundreds of Tunisians protested against the visit of Islamic cleric Wagdy Ghonem near the capital Tunis. According to the Egyptian news website bikyamasr.com, Ghonem angered Tunisians strongly by promoting female genital mutilation and calling for Islamic law to be applied in Tunisia. The crowd held signs reading “Ghonem must leave”, and “We don´t accept hate language”. Besides he was insulted as an “extremist” and “intruder”.
In a statement of the health ministry it is written that FGM is a “condemned practice that has nothing to do with our culture and society”. Although circumcision of girls is banned in Tunisia, conservatives, who believe the habit promotes virtue, do it anyway. Still many young girls bleed to death while getting cut.
Tunisian women, who were previously the most liberated of all in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, fear loss of those rights with the growing political Islam in the country. Amal Belhaj, editor of an online newspaper, says that a “growing culture in Tunisia is calling unveiled women ´whores´”. She called on democratic countries to support Tunisian women, who were never in such danger before.