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article imageSalafists attack Tunisian hotel bar in quest to ban alcohol

By Katerina Nikolas     Sep 4, 2012 in World
Tunisian Salafists have attacked the last working bar in the town of Sidi Bouzid, birthplace of the Arab Spring. Islamists committed to a ban on alcohol, smashed bottles of liquor.
Although alcohol is legal in Tunisia it is becoming a source of tension as Islamic extremists, intent on imposing Sharia law, vehemently oppose it.
Since May Islamic extremists, comprised of Sunni Salafists, have forcefully shut down businesses in the southern Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid that sell alcohol. Al Alarbiya reported that on Monday extremists raided the last working bar in the town, in the Hotel Horchani.
Smashing bottles of alcohol and chasing customers away, the activists shouted “Al-Saharab haram” (drinking is a sin). All Africa reported there was no intervention by security forces as Islamists destroyed hotel property.
Amnesty International reported four people, including a journalist, were arrested on August 5 for drinking alcohol on a beach. They face charges of moral offences. The case represents the eradication of personal liberties in Tunisia since the rise to power of the Islamic Ennahada party.
NPR visited Sidi Bouzid in June and reported on the restrictions being imposed on the town by Islamists, including the burning of the home of a liquor store owner. NRP quoted political activist Ramy Sghayer who spoke of the Islamists forcing alcohol off the menu.
He said "I respect these people as citizens that have the right, for example, to exist. But I don't respect their ideas because we want our country to advance, not to go back in history." He went on to say the Islamists are destroying his dream of a free Tunisia.
More about Sidi Bouzid, Hotel Horchani, salafists, AlSaharab haram
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