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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.



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