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Tunisian Imam Calls for 'Sterilization' of Jewish Women on Live Sermon Broadcast, Rights Group Sues


Since the Arab Spring, incitement against the Jewish community in Tunisia has risen sharply.

Djerba Jews at the El-Ghriba Synagogue on Tunisia's southern island. Photo source CC/JTA

Djerba Jews at the El-Ghriba Synagogue on Tunisia's southern island. (Photo credit: upyernoz via CC/JTA)

These are the types of reports that one cannot just "make-up." During a televised broadcast of Islamic "Jummah" prayers at the end of November, a prominent Tunisian imam called for the "sterilization" of Jewish women because, according to him, "God wants to destroy this sprinkling of Jews." What's more, his anti-Semitic sermon was delivered on a channel eerily dubbed "Hannibal TV."

Now, the minority rights group, The Tunisian Association to Support Minorities, is suing Sheikh Ahmad Al-Suhayli for incitement.

Qais El-Beltagi, a lawyer representing the prosecution, maintains that the imam violated Tunisia’s 2011 decree which criminalizes “calls to hatred between races and religions, and the population.” He added that article 52 of the decree calls for “a prison term of between one and three years and a fine ranging from 500 to 1,000 euros” for hate-filled rhetoric.

“The sermon… has received a wave of domestic and international condemnation,” El-Beltagi stated. According to the attorney, Hannibal TV is exempt from prosecution because the sermon was broadcast live, thus the content was not able to be edited.

Of course this is no coincidence. Since the Arab Spring and subsequent overthrow of Tunisian president Zine el Abidine ben Ali, this is the fourth reported incitement against the country's 2,000-member Jewish community.

Jewish community leaders, are, understandably, now insisting that security protection from the Tunisian government be implemented.

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