Thousands of conservative Muslims protest Tunisia gender equality report

Thousands of conservative Muslims protest Tunisia gender equality report
Conservative Muslims in Tunisia have continued demonstrations in the country's capital against gender equality and LGBT reforms.
2 min read
11 August, 2018
Thousands of protesters marched from Tunis to Bardo on Saturday [AFP]
Thousands of conservative Muslims marched from Tunisia's capital of Tunis to Bardo on Saturday, as part of a protest against a government report on gender equality.

The report by the Commission of Individual Liberties and Equality proposes, among other things, the legalisation of homosexuality and making the sexes equal in inheritance matters.

The commission was put in place a year ago by President Beji Caid Essebsi.

The protest - organised by the National Coordination for the Defence of the Quran - remained largely calm and without incident, despite the high passions felt by Tunisia's religious right over the issues.

It follows a similar demonstration earlier this month, when hundreds protested against proposed reforms of women's and LGBT rights.

Tunisia has long been seen as a pioneer for women's rights in the Arab world, but campaigners say the country is still torn between conservative and progressive camps.

In September, the government scrapped a law that prohibited Tunisian Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men, a significant step in loosening the tight controls over women's life choices.

The government is also visibly taking steps to address the country's epidemic of gender-based violence, passing a landmark law in July which meant that rapists could no longer escape punishment by marrying their victims.

Similar laws were also passed in Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan.

Agencies contributed to this report.