The Tunisian Islamist Ennahda party, which last year dropped its strict Islamic line, has been challenged to pick a homosexual as party’s candidate for local elections after it nominated Simon Slama, a Jew party member, as its candidate for the mayor election in the city of Monastir.
Several public figures have lambasted the choice of Slama that they deem is a trick. Anthropologist and Islam expert Youssef Seddik in an interview with local media Hakaek Online lashed out at the party that he challenged to field a homosexual or atheist candidate for the election, online media Huffpost reports.
For Seddik, the choice of Slama does not translate the party’s embracement of pluralism as it claims.
Ennahdha last year dropped its Islamist agenda and opted for a more moderate stance in its manifesto. Seddik argued that the choice of a homosexual or atheist candidate will underline the party’s adoption of a civil character and attachment to equality towards all minorities in the North African country.
The party led by Rached Ghannouchi has opposed homosexuality and the calls to decriminalize it. For party member, Yamina Zoghlami, decriminalization of homosexuality will be contrary to religion and morale, Huffpost notes.
The party, member of the ruling coalition, has also opposed calls by more radical parties to criminalize normalization of ties with Israel. It argues that the move could lead Tunisia to lose Western countries’ favors.