Ennahdha Party expresses its extreme concern and dismay at the return of tension to a number of locations particularly the Mannouba Faculty of Literature. This is due to the rigidity of two factions within the administration and the student body, following the prevention of students wearing the niqab from sitting their exams and the violation by their supporters of faculty regulations.
The party reiterates its rejection of manipulating public opinion and reminds everyone of their responsibility at this sensitive phase of the democratic transition. This calls for restraint and the placing of the national interest above all narrow partisan or group-specific considerations. In this context, Ennahdha Party:
1. Believes that dialogue is the best – or rather, the only – way to solve our problems.
2. Rejects the method of inciting tensions and hostility in any space, sector or field.
3. Refuses attempts by anyone who does not respect the law or seeks to impose his or her will or patronise the majority whether in the name of modernity or religion, while they have peaceful, legal means to make their demands heard.
4. Supports the opinion of the majority of Muslim scholars regarding the non-obligatory nature of niqab, just as it opposes its forced removal or the deprivation of those who choose to wear it from their right to education.
5. Calls for distancing university campuses from political and ideological conflicts.
6. Considers ideological polarisation to be a threat to our society and country and stresses its commitment to consensus-building, dialogue and co-existence.
7. Reaffirms the right of individuals to freely choose their dress and lifestyle, within general social conventions and free from coercion.
8. Calls for the respect of the law and administrative regulations which regulate university life and the examination process in order to protect the university’s interests and guarantee the peaceful management of academic life, and for adopting legal means for those who wish to change current regulations.
9. Urges the university and its respected dean to make every possible effort to calm the situation and put the students’ and university’s interests above any ideological consideration, particularly as over the last few days, solutions satisfactory to all parties have been reached that could provide calm and expose the falsity of rumours such as the detention of the dean and other rumours that have harmed the reputation of our glorious revolution around the world.
10. Categorically rejects the attempts of those who spread exaggerated negative perceptions regarding the situation around the country, spreading disenchantment and undermining the inspirational face of our revolution around the world as well as its achievements in starting the democratic transition and the opportunities for development and prosperity ahead of us.
Tunis, 6 December 2011