A year after the coup that made President Kais Saied assume total authority, he is now set t approve a draft constitution that proposes to drop Islam as Tunisia’s State religion. As per reports, the draft constitution is to be submitted to a referendum on June 25.
“The next constitution of Tunisia won’t mention a state with Islam as its religion, but of belonging to an umma (community) which has Islam as its religion, the President told journalists at Tunis airport, as reported by Morocco World News.
It is notable here that Tunisia, the northern African nation has a majority Muslim population and so far its constitution had adopted Islam as the State religion. President Saied seeks to separate State from religion. Also, Tunisia does not follow Sharia law, its legal framework is based on mostly European civil code.
Unfazed by the opposition among the ranks of those who support his coup, Saied moves forward with imposing his unilaterally written new constitution. Today he received Sadeq Beleid who 'handed to the President the draft for the constitution of the new Republic'.#Tunisia pic.twitter.com/6TbhY37hxE— Sami Hamdi سامي الهاشمي الحامدي (@SALHACHIMI) June 20, 2022
Saied had dissolved the Tunisian parliament last year and assumed complete authority in July 2021. Many politicians are opposed to Saied’s idea of separating Islam from the State. “The greatest corruption in politics is tyranny, and the cure is to return to democracy and the separation of powers”, politician Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of the Islamic party Ennhada has stated.
Sadok Belaid, the former dean of the Tunis law school who headed the drafting committee, had made it clear that the new constitution of the country will have no reference to Islam. He had stated that over 80% of Tunisians are opposed to Islamist politics and are against any kind of extremism.
After the Arab Spring in 2011, Tunisia had adapted its current constitution formally in 2014, where it is written that Islam is the religion, and Arabic is the language of Tunisia.
Earlier this month, Saied had dismissed 57 judges in the country, accusing them of protecting terrorists and indulging in corruption. Thereafter judges had started a nationwide strike against Saied’s decision.