Thursday, 31 May 2012 12:12
Hizb-Ut-Tahrir, a legally unrecognized Islamist party in Tunisia, filed for a license again on May 14, 2012. The Islamist party, which calls for the establishment of a Caliphate, or a theocratic Islamic state, had been previously denied a license under the Essebsi administration – the second prime minister since former dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali left the country.
The party is still waiting for legal recognition from Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali's government. Since the October 23rd elections, Tunisia has been ruled by a coalition of the moderate Islamist party Ennahdha and two center-left parties, CPR and Ettakatol.
During a press conference held today in Tunis, spokesperson of the party Ridha Belhadj said that the party did not change any of its principles when filing for a license this time. "We stand for what we believe in. Whether we get the visa or not, we know that our party is really popular among Tunisians," he said.
Belhadj explained that if they had power, Tunisia's relations with the West would be different: no longer a "master-servant" relation, in their terms. "We will not cut our relations with the West, but we refuse to serve their agendas," he stated.
Addressing the recent "Salafist" attacks on bars and liquor stores, Belhadj asserted that his party is not a "Salafist" party. "We condemn the use of violence. However, we believe that some people are trying to serve their interests by making others who are not informed enough resort to violence," he explained.
He further added that their party was not against elections, but stated that they see them as a means to achieve an Islamic state. "We are not against elections, but we are against democracy. Elections are only a means to reach the goal," he said.
Hizb-Ut-Tahrir has already written a constitution based on shariaa law – Islamic law derived from the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed. "The constitution will go into effect under the party's rule," Belhadj concluded.