Sharia should be the principal source of legislation in the constitution. We reject any constitution that does not include Islam as the state religion,” said Sandli Anwar, who held a sign reading “Islam is our religion, the Koran our constitution.”
“Some people want to separate religion from government in Tunisia. We reject this.”
While Islamists did not play a prominent role in the 2011 uprising, a struggle over the role of religion in politics has since polarized Tunisian politics.
While most Tunisians are Muslims, Tunisia has a long secular legacy, though one that has been tarnished by association with Ben Ali and his predecessor Habib Bourguiba, both dictators. Many Tunisian women shun the veil and defend legal rights in marriage and divorce that are among the region’s most progressive.
Asked if she was concerned that sharia law would limit her freedoms, Marwa, a student who wore a niqab or face veil, said: “Nothing honors women like sharia… People moved away from religion under the old regime. People don’t know any more.”
Behind her, hundreds of women chanted: “Women want the implementation of sharia.”