By Amal Saad-Ghoryeb
The resistance hero, Samir Kuntar, who was imprisoned in Israel for 30 years on false charges and later released as part of a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hizbullah, narrowly escaped being lynched by a group of 500 Salafi thugs armed with swords, batons, knives and other weapons, on his recent visit to Tunisia (see Akhbar Arabic’s story here). Five others were injured, some seriously.
Akhbar reports that neither this nor other attacks have been deterred in the slightest by the Interior Ministry which is controlled by a Nahda official. The Salafis justified their attack by recalling Kuntar’s allegiance to Shi’ism (he is a Druze convert) and his support for the Syrian government.
Analysts point to a speech Kuntar made two days prior to the incident, when he called on al-Nahda leader Rachid al-Ghannouchi, to declare Tunisia a land of anti-normalization (with the Zionist entity) if he was indeed serious about liberating Palestine. Analysts say that this speech was regarded by some party cadres as a provocation which warranted a response.
This is of course over and above the perpetrators of the crime, who are affiliated with Saudi-funded Wahhabi movements in Tunisia.
Al-Akhbar also notes that the assault on Kuntar occurred a day after an Iranian band was prevented from playing in Kairouan because of the band’s Shiite identity. Shi’ites in Tunisia protested the ban but were then “fiercely” attacked using “threatening” language to “discipline” them by Al-Nahda supporters on a Facebook page.
Akhbar also notes that the attack on Kuntar further antagonized the large number of Tunisians [Akhbar uses the term Tunisian “street” which I always avoid] who oppose al-Nahda and hold it responsible for the assault on Kuntar.