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Dublin: 21°C Sunday 25 July 2021

Tunisian TV boss's home attacked over airing of controversial movie

The owner of a private TV network is attacked after his film showed ‘Persepolis’, which contains a depiction of Allah.

Radical Islam followers demonstrate, some holding a picture of a defaced logo of a television channel, after Friday prayer in Tunis.
Radical Islam followers demonstrate, some holding a picture of a defaced logo of a television channel, after Friday prayer in Tunis.
Image: Hassene Dridi/AP

THE OWNER of a Tunisian TV channel has had his home attacked with firebombs by an angry mob protesting against his channel’s airing of a controversial movie.

Nessma reported that around 100 people attacked the home of its owner Nabil Karoui, hurling firebombs and forcing his wife and children to flee the house.

Karoui, who has apologised for airing the movie ‘Persepolis’, was not at home at the time. The film is deemed blasphemous by conservatives.

Earlier in the day, Tunisian police used tear gas to disperse thousands in the capital protesting against the film following weekly prayers.

Worshippers poured out of al-Fatah mosque in downtown Tunis in the afternoon and began protesting after the imam preached against ‘Persepolis’, calling it a “serious attack on the religious beliefs of Muslims.”

The demonstrations and home assault represent an escalations in tensions liberals and religious conservatives ahead Tunisia’s landmark elections later this month, which will nominate a constitutional body to determine the future in the era after the ousting of Ben Ali.

Marjane Satrapi’s award-winning adaptation of her graphic novels about growing up during Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution contains a scene showing a character representing Allah. Depictions of the god are considered sacrilege in Islam.

The preacher in Tunis questioned the timing of the broadcast by a private TV station during such a sensitive period before the election, describing it as an attempt to divide Tunisians at a time when national unity was needed.

There have been other protests against the TV station in the cities of Sousse, Monastir, Sidi Bouzid and Beja. Police arrested 50 demonstrators in Tunis on Sunday after they tried to attack the station.

There have been a rise in attacks against perceived symbols of secularism by hardcore Muslims in Tunisia ahead of the elections. Once suppressed by the former regime, conservative Muslims are increasingly making themselves heard in the country’s politics.

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Associated Press

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