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Missionary in Tunisia: This Is Not a Religious Clash; Victims Here Are All Muslims

This Is Inhumane Terrorism: ‘What Happens in Paris Happens in Tunisia, What Happens in Beirut Happens in Mali’

 

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After Tuesday’s terrorist attack in Tunis, Tunisia, which resulted in the death of 13 people, the national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of the nation emphasized that we “cannot speak of a clash among religions” as the victims are all Muslims. Rather, we are before “inhumane terrorism.”

Fr. Jawad Alamat offered this reflection to the Fides news agency, following the suicide bombing against a bus carrying officers of the presidential security.

This attack is aimed “to send a destabilizing message again,” the priest said. “After hitting tourism in Souse, inflicting a serious blow to the economy, and after attacking the Bardo Museum, which means not only hitting tourism but also an area of high political importance due to the vicinity of the Parliament, now the forces of presidential security are being attacked.”

ISIS took responsibility on social media for Tuesday’s violence.

Forty people were killed in the Sousse attacks in June and 22 were killed in March at the museum.

“We are in front of people who are willing to die in order to kill,” Fr. Alamat said. “We can not speak of a clash among religions. The victims of Tunis are all Muslims. We are having to deal with inhumane terrorism. What happens in Paris happens in Tunisia, what happens in Beirut happens in Mali.”

“I hope that after this new attack, politics will change and react,” the priest said. “Tunisians are disappointed and dismayed by what goes on among the parties, while the Country is in great difficulty. One has the feeling of wasting precious time to revive the fortunes of economy. I hope this attack pushes politicians to stop ‘playing,’ and be adults and to think about the well being of the Country, which is threatened by a determined enemy. It is a call for national unity, despite political differences, to provide security to the local population and all those living in this beloved Country.”

Tunisia was the country that set off the so-called Arab spring of 2010-2011, with the Jasmine Revolution, a campaign of civil resistance that led to the ousting of President Zine El Abiding Ben Ali. One of the catalysts was the self-immolation of Tarek el-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor mistreated by local authorities.

Last year, Tunisia held free and fair general and presidential elections, and adopted a constitution. In October, four civil society organizations of Tunisia were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

But the government is struggling to survive, corruption is widespread and many poor, disgruntled Tunisians  are thought to have joined ISIS or other militants even closer to home. (KN)

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