Tunisian minister sacked following Saudi comments

Abdeljalil Ben Salem

Abdeljalil Ben Salem

Tunisia’s Minister of Religious Affairs Abdeljalil Ben Salem has been forced to resign after comments he made about Saudi Arabia’s “Wahhabism” being the source of global terrorism.

A statement released from the office of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed slammed Ben Salem’s remarks for distorting the country’s basic diplomatic principles.

During a hearing at parliament last week Ben Salem said he was the only one who had courageously asked the Saudi ambassador and another Saudi official “to reform their country’s schools because they are the cradle of terrorism”.

He also stated that use of the term “takfir” originated from “Wahhabi schools”.

Ben Salem’s comments have caused outrage among Tunisian politicians who fear the remarks will trigger a diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

This is not the first time Ben Salem has caused controversy, earlier this year he raised questions after he asked political parties to produce names for imam appointments after his ministry failed to receive applications for the religious positions.

Politicians said they felt “awkward” by the minister’s request due to the presence of political parties in mosques being “dangerous” for the country and jeopardising imam neutrality.

Ben Salem was appointed minister late August after Chahed was sworn in as prime minister.

(Source / 08.11.2016)


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