Nadia El Fani, a Tunisian film-maker, has been targeted by violent religious extremists. In the context of the resurgence of political Islam in Tunisia following the revolution, the Left internationally should take the defence of freedom of speech and secularism, and the defence of leftwing forces against religious reaction, very seriously.
The following report is from UK socialist Andrew Coates.
French news magazine Marianne writes: “Nadia El Fani has already been the target of threats... On Sunday the 26th of June a commando attacked the projection of her film, “Ni Allah Ni Maitre’, at the Habib Belhedi hall in the heart of Tunis. The gang of young, bearded, men smashed up the showing, which was taking place as part of a series of events held by ’ ‘Touche pas à mes créateurs (Hands off Creative People) - a group set up to protest against violent attacks on artists. The organisers of this initiative, the collective Lam Echaml, brings together 80 associations which defend freedom of expression. The attackers were extremely violent. Shouting “Tunisia is an Islamic State!” and “The people want secularism punished as a crime!” they sprayed the audience with tear-gas and called those present “infidels”.”
Following this vicious assault, Nadia El Fani has changed the name of the film to “Laïcité, inch’Allah“.(More information here)
There was a report in le Monde yesterday which said that the Islamist party Ennahdha did not agree with this assault. But they also denounced the “provocation” of demanding free speech for Nadie El Fani – who has declared herself to be an atheist.
The film comes out in France in September.
We hope it will be shown in Britain.