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News and Views: Tunisia

European women go on trial for topless Tunis protest

June 7, 2013

Three European women went on trial in Tunis on Wednesday for holding a topless anti-Islamic protest, and their French lawyer said he was confident they would escape prison despite the threat of jail sentences.

 Pauline Hillier and Marguerite Stern from France, and Josephine Markmann from Germany arrived in court around 0930 GMT wearing the traditional Tunisian headscarf, or safsari.

Honneur Aux Dissidents

October 16, 2012

Au cours de ces dernières semaines, et dans plusieurs pays, des groupes de citoyens ont ouvertement pris position contre les fondamentalistes musulmans, y compris leurs groupes armés.

Honour the Dissenters

October 16, 2012

In the past few weeks, in several countries, groups of citizens have openly taken a stand against Muslim fundamentalists, including armed ones.

Tunisia: Preserve the Rights of Women!

August 22, 2012

Tunisia has always led gender equality in the Middle East for the past fifty years, with women playing an active role in civil society and enjoying the same legal rights as men. Now, with the old regime overthrown this past spring, many Tunisians are concerned that Al-Nahda, a more conservative Islamic party, will come to power and pull the nation back into the past. 

Tunisia: Radio show host banned after station boss storms studio to confront outspoken guest

July 9, 2012

Tunisian radio journalist Nadia Heddaoui Mabkhout was denied access to the headquarters of RTCI (Radio Tunis Chaîne Internationale), suspended from work and had her radio show cancelled last Friday.

Mabkhout was on her way to host her show Café Noir, recently renamed L’invité du Journal, which is aired on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:30 to 9am. She was accompanied by her guest, Neziha Rejiba (alias Om Zied), a well-known Tunisian activist and writer.

Talk is Cheap: Addressing Sexual Harassment in Tunisia

April 14, 2012

With a progressive Code of Personal Status, Tunisia is commonly regarded as the Arab world’s most advanced country in terms of women’s rights. Yet sexual harassment exists in Tunisia, too. Unlike in Egypt, sexual harassment has not entered the arena of public discourse in Tunisia, and is often dismissed as a non-issue.

Zainah Anwar: Arab Spring opens window of opportunity for women in Mideast

April 29, 2012
In many countries of the Middle East, women are wondering what the Arab Spring means for them. Some observers are concerned that the power vacuum will leave the door open for Islamist groups to take power and force changes opposing women’s rights.

 Zainah Anwar, a leading Malaysian social activist and intellectual, is not one of them. She is even excited about the prospects that the Arab Spring could have for women.

Iranian responses to the “Arab spring”: appropriation and contestation

February 29, 2012

While the Iranian government authorities attempted to appropriate the Arab spring, claiming it was a continuation of the Iranian revolution of 1979, the events revived popular longing for democratic change in Iran. Ziba Mir-Hosseini tells Deniz Kandiyoti that no movement for change in Iran can afford to ignore women’s aspiration for equality – a lesson that some of the successful elements in the Arab spring may yet have to learn.

Women in Authoritarian States

February 1, 2012

It’s not just about cars, argues Madawi Al-Rasheed. News reports from Saudi Arabia often appear bizarre and outrageous: young women lashed for defying a driving ban; women accused of witchcraft beheaded; victims of rape stoned to death. Such practices are not unusual in Saudi Arabia and regularly exposed by organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Egypt: Concerns as Brotherhood Ignores Abuse of Women

January 19, 2012

A group of men gathered around Amira El Bakry in Tahrir Square as she brandished a newspaper photo that shocked many Egyptians. It showed troops dragging a female protester along the street, her robe ripped open to reveal a blue bra and bare midriff.

Tunisia: ATDF wins Simone de Beauvoir Prize

December 24, 2011

The Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD) won the 2011 Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom - a French award honoring women’s rights advocates worldwide.

The ATFD was recgonized for their accomplishments in the realm of feminist activism. The jury for the Simone de Beauvoir Prize chose the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women for their important role during the Tunisian uprisings in defending women’s rights and freedoms.

Tunisia: Islamist Party Wins Big In Elections

October 24, 2011

A moderate Islamist party claimed victory Monday in Tunisia's landmark elections as preliminary results indicated it had won the biggest share of votes, assuring it will have a strong say in the future constitution of the country whose popular revolution led to the Arab Spring.

Tunisia: In the Name of Democracy - What Secularists and Women Have to Lose in the Tunisian Elections

October 22, 2011

On the eve of the elections in Tunisia that will shape the future of the country and even that of the Arab world as well, Western do-gooders and Islamic fundamentalists hand in hand rejoice in ‘Tunisia’s first free elections’ and its access to ‘ democracy’. The recent history of Iran and Algeria have taught us better… And women in Tunisia watch in horror the rise of Muslim fundamentalists, as a possible replication of the Algerian scenario of 1989 .

Tunisia: 'In the Name of Democracy - What Secularists and Women Have to Lose in the Tunisian Elections'

October 22, 2011

On the eve of the elections in Tunisia that will shape the future of the country and even that of the Arab world as well, Western do-gooders and Islamic fundamentalists hand in hand rejoice in ‘Tunisia’s first free elections’ and its access to ‘ democracy’. The recent history of Iran and Algeria have taught us better… And women in Tunisia watch in horror the rise of Muslim fundamentalists, as a possible replication of the Algerian scenario of 1989 .

Tunisia's Election Through the Eyes of Women

October 23, 2011

Al Jazeera speaks to Tunisian women from across the political spectrum about their hopes and fears for Sunday's poll.

Tunisia: Leading the way on women's rights in MENA

September 10, 2011

Last December, Tunisians rose up against their dictator, triggering a political earthquake that has sent shockwaves through most of the Middle East and north Africa. Now, Tunisia is leading the way once again – this time on the vexed issue of gender equality.

Tunisia: Government Lifts Restrictions on Women’s Rights Treaty

September 6, 2011

(Beirut) September 6, 2011 ─ Tunisia’s lifting of key reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is an important step toward gender equality, Human Rights Watch said today. The Tunisian government should next ensure that all domestic laws conform to international standards and eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, Human Rights Watch said. 

Tunisia: Women's rights hang in the balance

August 20, 2011

For 55 years, Tunisia celebrated Women's Day every August 13, representing the push for gender equality that has been one of the hallmarks of the North African nation's post-colonial era.

Tunisia: Sit-in against 'fundamentalism, extremism, and violence' in centre of Tunis

July 2, 2011

Dozens of people participated Saturday in a sit-in in the center of Tunis to warn against "fundamentalism, extremism and violence", AFP noted. 

Gathered on the steps of the City Theatre, the participants came following calls on social networks, waving placards saying "no to violence, yes to tolerance," "against any religious extremism", "No to Algeria of the 90s."

The event turned into impromptu happening, dozens of passers-by sit down to discuss the place of Islam in society, freedom of expression or the defense of the Revolution’s gains.

Middle East: Women and the Revolution

March 25, 2011


Among the most prevalent Western stereotypes about Muslim countries are those concerning Muslim women: doe-eyed, veiled, and submissive, exotically silent, gauzy inhabitants of imagined harems, closeted behind rigid gender roles. So where were these women in Tunisia and Egypt?

Tunisia: Women Play Important Role in Revolution

January 27, 2011


Female voices rang out loud and clear during massive protests that brought down the authoritarian rule of Tunisian President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Women in Tunisia are unique in the Arab world for enjoying near equality with men. And they are anxious to maintain their status.

In Tunis, old ladies, young girls and women in black judges robes marched down the streets demanding that the dictator leave.

Hardly anyone wears the Muslim headscarf in the capital, and women seem to be everywhere, taking part in everything, alongside men.

Muslim Women Unite Against Sexual Violence

November 19, 2010


A major grassroots campaign recently called international attention to the underreported issues of sexual harassment and assault against women in Muslim states.

Scores of women's organisations from Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia joined forces last week for a sensational campaign led by the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR).

One Day One Struggle: International Campaign to Promote Sexual and Bodily Rights across Muslim Societies

November 9, 2010

On November 9, 2010, the 2nd international “One Day One Struggle” Campaign to promote sexual and bodily rights in Muslim societies will take place in 12 countries across Middle East, North Africa, South and Southeast Asia.