What’s Happening to Tunisia Is a Tragedy

Many of my friends and family were among the nearly three million people who voted for Mr. Saied. Better him than his opponent, they said, a candidate supported by a mixture of the previous regime and corrupt business networks. Yet from the outset, I found Mr. Saied’s project terrifying. As a scholar of religion, I paid particular attention to a lecture he gave in September 2018, when he was still a law professor, on the relationship between Islam and the state. His political vision wasn’t just antidemocratic. It was an anti-modern form of nativism, with everything subservient to the ruler.

Given his obsession with purity, the president’s crackdown on migrants is hardly surprising. In February, he invoked the great replacement conspiracy theory to accuse the country’s small sub-Saharan migrant population of plotting to remake Tunisia’s identity. His remarks set off a brutal wave of violence against Black people in the country, in which scores were injured, arrested and…

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This article was written by Nadia Marzouki and originally published on www.nytimes.com