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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/27/21

American Muslim group calls on Biden to support democracy in Tunisia

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Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), an umbrella organization of American Muslim groups, Monday called on the Biden Administration to support democracy in Tunisia by demanding the restoration of the country's elected parliament, ending attacks on journalists, and protecting free speech, including the right to peaceful protests.

Tunisian President Kais Saied on Sunday dismissed the country's prime minister and other key officials, suspended the parliament, imposed a 30-day curfew while effectively banned all protests against his measures.

Security forces also raided the Tunis office of Al-Jazeera and expelled journalists from the premises.

In a statement, USCMO Secretary-General Oussama Jammal said: "We call on the Biden Administration to vocally speak out against the coup in Tunisia before it escalates further, ending another Arab nation's experiment with representative democracy. What's happening in Tunisia is obvious. We have seen this scenario play out in Egypt, Libya, and numerous other countries impacted by the Arab Spring, and it must not happen again.

"For decades, most people in the Arab world have been ruled by unelected and unjust dictators who do not respect human rights, including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or freedom of press. As long as the United States insists on being involved in the region, our nation must use its political and economic influence to support representative government, starting in Tunisia," Jammal said adding:

"The Biden Administration should clearly call for Tunisia's president to restore parliament, protect journalists, and guarantee free speech, including the right to peaceful protest."

A press release of the USCMO said it endorses the aspiration of all peoples wherever they may befrom China to Cuba to Egypt to France to India to Myanmar to Palestine to Syria - who seek to live in peace, justice, and freedom.

The US Council of Muslim Organizations is the largest coalition of leading national, regional, and local Muslim organizations. The U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) was founded in March 2014 as an umbrella organization to unify the approach, agenda and vision of the Muslim community,

Meanwhile, the US State Department has called for respecting civil rights and freedom of expression in Tunisia, saying that any political solution in the North African country must be based on the "principles of democracy, human rights and freedom".

In a statement released on Monday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Washington is closely monitoring the situation in Tunis.

"We have been clear in urging all parties to avoid taking any actions that could stifle democratic discourse or lead to violence," Price said.

"We are particularly troubled by reports that media offices have been closed and urge scrupulous respect for freedom of expression and other civil rights."

"Tunisia must not squander its democratic gains. The United States will continue to stand on the side of Tunisia's democracy," Price said.

The latest turmoil in Tunisia refreshed memories about the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring which was sparked by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi on December 17, 2010 in Tunis. The protests inspired similar actions throughout the Arab world - including Morocco, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Bahrain - in a chain reaction which became known as the Arab Spring movement. The events in these nations generally began in the spring of 2011, which led to the name. However, the political and social impact of these popular uprisings remains significant today, years after many of them ended.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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