Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tunisian Prosecution of "Persepolis" Seen as Crucial Signpost for Country's Future

The New York Times has a fascinating article about how a blasphemy prosecution in Tunisia has become a public battleground and rallying cry for both sides in a struggle between conservative Islamists and secularists for control of a country that only a year ago underwent a dramatic revolution. The prosecution itself involves a man named Nabil Karoui, the director of a television station in Tunisia, who decided to air the movie Persepolis, which is the autobiographical story of a young woman's experiences during the Iranian Revolution. The movie contained a short scene in which God was given anthropomorphic form, and this led to an outcry among the most conservative of Tunisia's Muslims (known as Salafis). Karoui, the station director, had his house attacked and was then charged with libelling religion. The trial has been postponed multiple times, and violence has followed court proceedings as other members of the station have been attacked by angry crowds. According to the article, the outcome of the prosecution is seen in Tunisia as a crucial marker of what direction the country is heading in.

Thanks to Volokh Conspiracy and Religion Clause for bringing this article to my attention.

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