Tunisia imam 'suspended' for using word with same root as 'coup' during Quran recitation
A Tunisian imam has said authorities handed him a ten-day suspension from his role after he recited a Quranic verse featuring a word that shares the same linguistic origin as the Arabic term for "coup" during a prayer.
Muhammad Zain al-Din, imam of a mosque in Nabeul province, recited the verse during an evening prayer attended by the Minister of Religious Affairs Ibrahim al-Shaibi last Saturday, local radio station Shems FM reported.
During his recitation, the imam used the word "yanqalib", which means to "turn back" or "regress". It shares the same root word as "inqilab", which translates to "coup".
"O Allah, Lord over all authorities, You give authority to whoever You please and remove it from who You please… Muḥammad is no more than a messenger… if he were to die or to be killed, would you regress into disbelief?", the verse reads.
The displeased minister told al-Din that "it is better to avoid such verses", the imam told Shems FM on Wednesday.
Al-Din said authorities then told him in a phone call that he was being investigated and would be suspended from his role for ten days.
Tunisian president Kais Saied sacked the government and suspended parliament in July of last year, later moving to rule by decree.
He has been widely condemned for the move, which critics have labelled a "coup".
The New Arab has contacted the Tunisian Ministry of Religious Affairs for comment.