Tunisia MPs reject Islam as primary source of law
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Tunisia MPs reject Islam as primary source of law

National Constituent Assembly promises 'freedom of conscience'

Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, right, is pictured with Ennahda party leader Rached El Ghannouchi at the opening of a meeting with representatives of Tunisian political parties in Carthage, outside Tunis, in February 2013. (photo credit: AP/Hassene Dridi)
Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, right, is pictured with Ennahda party leader Rached El Ghannouchi at the opening of a meeting with representatives of Tunisian political parties in Carthage, outside Tunis, in February 2013. (photo credit: AP/Hassene Dridi)

Tunisia’s Islamist-majority parliament rejected Islam as the primary source of law in a vote on a new constitution for the country that triggered the Arab Spring.

Although Islam was established as the official state religion, the National Constituent Assembly promised freedom of conscience, the AFP news agency reported on Sunday.

Not everyone was satisfied with the decision. One MP warned that “satanists” and “idolaters” would be practicing in public, while a rights group argued that the language of the new protections was too vague.

Saturday’s meeting came amid concerns that a January 14 deadline for the charter’s approval could be missed because of disruptions and the slow pace of deliberations. The National Constituent Assembly has adopted only 12 out of 146 proposed articles for the new constitution.

January 14 will be the third anniversary of the ouster of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

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