Why are people so afraid of Ennahda?


Tunisia is a country with a strong secular identity, but it is equally true that, since the fall of Ben Ali and the annulment of the constitution, practicing Muslim Tunisians have acquired greater space and visibility. Ennahda is without a doubt the symbol for these pious Tunisians, even though Ennahda’s leading candidate in the Tunis 2 constituency (perhaps the most important one) does not wear a veil. Outside the party headquarters in the Montplaisir district, crowded with the national and international press, Souad Abderrahim offers interviews and smiles. With her blue suit, sunglasses and a smile for the TV and newspaper cameras, she even embodies a certain glamour. She seems at ease, obviously she has practiced during the last few days of the election campaign, talking to people, making media appearances and charging up the crowds at the last rally held at the Ben Arus stadium, a working-class district in Tunis where hundreds of veiled and non-veiled women turned up to applaud her. Souad briefly answers questions that are ultimately all addressed at the same issue. What role will women play if Ennahda wins the elections? Victory is now a certainty, and the only element unknown is by what margin. And the answer is always the same, “Our aim is the freedom of all women. The veil is a religious and a personal choice.”

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