A Lebanese family walks to the port city of Tyre after fleeing their village of Naqura in South Lebanon, Monday 31st July 2006.
The President of Tunisia Zine El Abidine Ali, has recently described the headscarf as a sectarian form of dress which had come into Tunisia uninvited. A 1981 law forbids the wearing of the hijab and police have recently been stopping wearers, asking them to remove the scarf and agree to refrain from wearing it in future.
98% of the population are Muslims but the Government who casually lock up what they see as extremist Muslim political opposition, say that scarf wearing is using religion to hide political aims. They also claim they have a Free Press but close down papers and lock up editors and journalists regularly. ... the beaches are nice however ... and they filmed The Life of Brian in Monastir.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) which claims to be America's largest Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group said :
"Freedom of religion should be a valued aspect of any society. People of all faiths must be granted the right to freely practice their religion without government interference or intimidation.In the past, CAIR has defended the right to wear Islamic attire in France and Turkey. The council has also defended hijab and other religious rights in American schools and workplaces.
"The Tunisian law banning Islamic attire in certain areas, and the apparent expanded interpretation of that law, violates international human rights standards set forth by the United Nations and ratified by virtually every nation on earth.
"Tunisia cannot claim to be a free and open society while carrying out such repressive and authoritarian actions."