March 6, 2012
As Tunisian lawmakers draft a new constitution, it appears that Islamic sharia law will represent "the principal source of legislation," CNSNews.com reports. Tunisia, the country that launched last year's "Arab Spring" revolutions, is being closely watched by many around the world pondering the future of the Middle East amid the rise of Islamist parties. Tunisia's current constitution declares that its "religion is Islam, its language is Arabic and its type of government is the Republic," but the Islamic Ennahda party, which holds 89 of the Tunisian assembly's 217 seats, wants the new constitution to go even further and explicitly assert the importance of sharia. According to Barnabas Fund, a religious freedom organization working mostly with Christian minorities in Islamic countries, the tenets of sharia are "incompatible" with the concepts of justice, human rights and the dignity of all people, "as evidenced in other countries, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, that are based on Islamic principles." The White House has been largely silent on the question of sharia in Arab Spring countries, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week that she was "encouraged in many regards by what I've seen in Tunisia."