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Tunisian Student Stands up to Salafists Over Flag

خولة الرشيدي و السلفي

Tunisian Girl Confronts Salafists’

Flag Desecration


Khaoula Rashidi [خولة الرشيدي ] is a University of Manouba (Tunis) student who gained national celebrity after a video circulated of her attempt to stop the Tunisian flag from being taken down when a group of religious activists replaced the campus Tunisian flags with a black banner– a symbol associated with Jihadi Slafism.

A video circulating online shows Rashidi intervening when a Salafist militant removed the Tunisian flag and raised the Jihadists’ black flag at the Manouba University near Tunis.  He pushes Rashidi off a wall as she tries to intervene.


On March 12, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki officially honored Khaoula Rashidi, a University of Manouba student, for defending the Tunisian national flag.

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki officially honored Khaoula Rashidi at the Presidential Palace in Carthage

“The flag is the symbol of the country … the blood of martyrs … and the Arab-Islamic identity,” stated Marzouki in an emotional speech delivered during the ceremony. Marzouki also condemned the violation of the flag and emphasized its symbolic sanctity. Marzouki urged the perpetrator of the flag desecration to turn himself in to the authorities and apologize before an “independent judiciary.” He explained that no one can impose themselves as, “the spokesperson of the country, or of religion.” The flag incident at Manouba has been met with widespread condemnation by Tunisian political representatives, civil society activists, and citizens. However, no charges have yet been filed against the individual responsible for the incident.

Rachidi Family


& Interior Minister


Salafis do not feel that the flag did not represent them (any country’s flag!); only the salafi flag is considered by them to be the banner of Islam.  Is it possible for something positive to come out of the flag incident? Actually several!  A Tunisian woman stood up for citizenship and national identity, despite the violent assault on her.  It was also a wake-up call. Tunisians (most) felt like citizens united under their red flag. In the end, one of the salafi protesters returned the Tunisian flag high upon its pole, suggesting that differences of opinion exist in all groups.

Disposing of Copies of the Koran (al-Muṣḥaf = الـمـصـحـف)

Handling and disposal of sacred texts or other religious items can be a problematic issue for the ‘layperson’ (and sometimes a matter of life and death if the text is ‘desecrated’!). In the Muslim tradition, the Koran (Quran) is considered the literal and sacred word of God, the direct link to the divine, the source of the faith, and it is the most important symbol of their religion. But Muslims don’t worship the text of the Koran itself. So, how do Muslims respectfully dispose of a text of the Koran that is no longer usable?


Here are a few opinions and interpretations:

  • The proper way to dispose of the Quran is to first soak it in some water for a few days, and then bury it. So the ink comes off.
  • Two methods of disposing an unusable Qur’an and Islamic literature:

(1) Wrapping them in a piece of cloth or something pure and burying them respectfully in a place where people normally do not walk upon.

(2) Fastening the items to something heavy such as a stone and placing it respectfully in flowing river.

  • Other scholars have mentioned three ways of doing that:

(1) Burning, i.e., burning old copies of the Mus-haf in a careful and respectful  manner, in a clean and safe place, whilst ensuring that the words are consumed by the fire and the pages are changed. (It must be done thoroughly until there is nothing left but ashes)

(2) Burying, for which a place that is clean and safe from tampering should be chosen. A deep hole should be dug in which it is thought most likely that the buried copies will disappear for a long time. They may be buried in a clean, pure place where they will not be subject to mishandling in the future, to the best of one’s knowledge.

(3) Shredding. This may be the easiest way nowadays. There are machines into which one inserts papers and they shred them into tiny pieces, so that they are no longer regarded as words of the Qur’aan or even legible letters. This is clean and safe and does not involve a lot of effort, as is the case with burning or burying.

BOTTOM LINE: Burning the Koran is permissible if done respectfully!


Tunisian Journalists Arrested on Morality Charges

Three Tunisian Journalists Arrested

[Trois journalistes arrêtés]

On 15 February, 2012,  Tunisian authorities arrested the owner and publisher of  the newspaper Attounsia, as well as one of its editors and a reporter, for “violating public morals,” after the publishing on its front page a photo one of a sports figure with a nude woman. Here’s what the page looks like:

Real Madrid midfielder German-Tunisian Sami Khedira and his partially-nude girlfriend German model, Lena Gercke.

This is the first documented incident of journalists being arrested since the Tunisian Revolution overthrew the regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali  in January 2011. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on authorities to release them immediately.

“Really, this is laughable,” a staff member of the Arabic-language daily said. “This photo has gone around the world and yet they stand accused of violating decency,” he said. The photo was widely shared on Facebook. Originally, it appeared on the cover of  the German magazine GQ.

The journalists face up to five years in prison under article Article 121 of Tunisian penal code.
Under Article 121(3) of the Tunisian penal code, distributing or displaying information “that can harm public order or good morals.” Here’s the original Arabic text:

الجمهورية التونسية * المجلة الجزائية

الفصل 121 ثالثا (أضيف بالقانون عدد 43 لسنة 2001 المؤرخ في 3 ماي 2001 والمتعلق بتنقيح مجلة الصحافة)

يحجر توزيع المناشير والنشرات والكتابات الأجنبية المصدر أو غيرها التي من شأنها تعكير صفو النظام العام أو النيل من الأخلاق الحميدة وكذلك بيعها وعرضها على العموم ومسكها بنية ترويجها أو بيعها أو عرضها لغرض دعائي.

وكل مخالفة للتحجير المنصوص عليه بالفقرة السابقة يمكن أن يترتب عنه زيادة على الحجز في الحين عقاب بالسجن من 6 أشهر إلى خمسة أعوام وبخطية من 120 دينارا إلي 1200 دينار


Last August, the magazine Tunivisions published an article featuring Tunisian supermodel Kenza Fourati clothed only in body paint that raised questions about freedom of the press and what is appropriate to show on the cover of a magazine.

Tunisian supermodel Kenza Fourati
More Images for Tunivisions Kenza Fourati

Trois journalistes arrêtés pour une couv’ osée

“Vive la Révolution!”

FOLLOW  UP,  Thursday, February 23:

Tunisian newspaper publisher arrested over nude photo released ahead of verdict

A court has released the publisher of a Tunisian newspaper accused of violating public morals by publishing a photo of a naked woman, pending a verdict in the case. Publisher Nasreddine Ben Saida was released Thursday while he awaits the verdict in the case, expected March 8.

FOLLOW  UP: 9 March 2012

Tunisian Publisher Fined Over Photo

Copyright 2012 The New York Times Company. All Rights Reserved.TUNIS (Reuters) — A Tunisian court fined a newspaper publisher $665 on Thursday for printing a photograph of a soccer player posing with his nude girlfriend, a ruling that raised concerns about a possible news media crackdown by the country’s new Islamist government.

The newspaper, Attounissia, is a tabloid created after the revolution that ousted President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali last year. It published a photograph last month of Sami Khedira, a soccer player for Real Madrid who is Tunisian and German, dressed in a tuxedo with his hands covering the breasts of his naked girlfriend, Lena Gercke, who is a German model.

The photograph angered the country’s public prosecutor, who ordered the detention of the publisher, Nasreddine Ben Saida, as well as of two senior journalists at the newspaper. The journalists were quickly released, but Mr. Ben Saida spent eight days in jail before being released on bail during a court hearing on Feb. 24.

Mr. Ben Saida was fined on Thursday for offending public morals and taste by publishing the photograph, the official news agency TAP reported. The case has led secular Tunisians to fear that the Islamist-led government will seek increasingly to censor material it deems offensive.

 غرامة بألف دينار لمدير جريدة “التونسية”

 قضت أمس الدائرة الجناحية الثامنة بالمحكمة الإبتدائية بتونس بتخطئة مدير جريدة «التونسية» نصر الدين بن سعيدة بخطية مالية قدرها ألف دينار وإعدام المحجوز من أجل تهمة وضع وبيع نشرات وكتابات إلى العموم من شأنها النيل من الأخلاق الحميدة

 وكذلك المس من صفو النظام العام طبق أحكام الفصل 121 من المجلة الجزائية. وكان بن سعيدة أطلق سراحه بعد أن قضى ثمانية أيام في سجن ايقافه وذلك على خلفية نشر»صورة فاضحة» للاعب الكرة القدم الألماني من أصل تونسي سامي بن خذيرة البالغ من العمر 24 سنة صحبة عارضة الأزياء الألمانية لينا جارك البالغة من العمر 23 عاما بصحيفة «التونسية».

Google Maps & The Syrian Uprising

In recent weeks, anti-government Syrian activists used Map Maker, a Google crowdsourcing program, to rename key streets, bridges and boulevards after  revolutionary symbols and heroes.

Full report at Published by The Washington Post: February 14, 2012:

On Google, Syrians map defiance

Activists use crowdsourcing software to replace Assad regime’s street names with their own


Libya’s Post-Revolution Press Boom

Despite scant funding and a lack of publishing expertise in the country,  media outlets in Libya  witness an unprecedented boom sparked by the  revolution. Before the revolution, the press was tightly controlled. In its 2010 press freedom index, Reporters Without Borders put Libya at 160th position out of 178 states. The media landscape, which has long been dominated by the government  Public Press Authority, now boasts more than 300 dailies and weeklies, with about 180 issued in Benghazi. Many new outlets receive funding from civil society, local councils and businessmen. The National Transitional Council (NTC) also provides assistance to journalists.


The Tripoli Post

ليبا اليوم – Libya alyoum

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