Tu­nisian min­is­ter sacked af­ter crit­i­ciz­ing Saudi

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -


Tu­nisia’s re­li­gious af­fairs min­is­ter was fired yes­ter­day for “at­tack­ing the foun­da­tions of diplo­macy” af­ter he pub­licly sug­gested the con­ser­va­tive form of Is­lam prac­ticed in Saudi Ara­bia had links to ex­trem­ism. A gov­ern­ment state­ment said Prime Min­is­ter Youssef Cha­hed had re­lieved Ab­del­jalil Ben Salem of his du­ties due to his “at­tack” on Tu­nisia’s diplo­matic prin­ci­ples.

On Thurs­day Ben Salem con­firmed dur­ing a par­lia­ment ses­sion that he had “dared” to ques­tion Riyadh’s am­bas­sador to Tu­nis, as well as the sec­re­tary gen­eral of Arab in­te­rior min­is­ters-a Saudi na­tional-about Saudi Wah­habism be­ing a “ve­hi­cle for ter­ror­ism”. “I say to Saudis... re­form your school be­cause ter­ror­ism has his­tor­i­cally come from it. I say this to you with love and mod­esty,” the min­is­ter said, ac­cord­ing to the pri­vate Mo­saique FM ra­dio sta­tion.

Wah­habism, the fun­da­men­tal­ist school of Is­lam prac­ticed in Saudi Ara­bia, has been ac­cused of in­spir­ing ex­trem­ist ide­olo­gies in the region. Ben Salem tried to row back from his com­ments, is­su­ing a state­ment say­ing that Tu­nisia’s re­la­tions with the king­dom were “com­pletely har­mo­nious”. Tu­nisia has wit­nessed a se­ries of ex­trem­ist at­tacks since the pop­u­lar up­ris­ing of 2011, in­clud­ing deadly at­tacks on for­eign tourists in 2015. — AFP

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