Source: Tunisia Live
Hizb Ettahrir, a legally unrecognized Islamist party, is organizing an international conference for women under the name, "Caliphate, a bright example for the rights and political role of women." The conference is to be held on March the 10th, in Carthago Hotel, in the northern suburbs of Tunis. Only women can attend the event.
Supporters of Hizb Ettahrir from all over the world will be attending the conference to talk about the benefits of the caliphate, Islamic theocracy, and the "bright prospects" it offers in terms of women's freedoms. According to one of the organizers of the conference, testimonies reinforcing the, "benefits of the caliphate," in preserving the rights of women will be presented to assert that, "only the Islamic system can effectively guarantee the rights of women."
One of the organizers of the event stated that women should have an effective role in society and that the party is not against women holding jobs and does not encourage wearing the niqab, the face-covering veil worn by some Muslim women.
Nesrine Bouthafi, a member of Hizb Ettahrir, stated that the party calls for a caliphate and is against democracy. "Democracy is a form of blasphemy that gives power to the people. However, in Islam the only source of rules is shariaa law," she stated.
Bouthafli also addressed the issue of the niqab, stating that the party does not encourage wearing the niqab and sees it as a secondary issue that should not be addressed now. "We should not create an issue over 10 women wearing the niqab, whereas there are more than one million unemployed people in Tunisia," she added.
Ahlem Belhaj, head of the Democratic Women's Association, was skeptical of the Hizb Ettahrir conference.
"I know what Hizb Ettahrir are going to talk about. They're against women working and they want women to wear the niqab," said Belhaj.
Hizb Ettahrir was founded in 1953 in Jordan by the Palestinian, Taqieddine Ennabhani. Hizb Ettahrir, whose Tunisia chapter is led by Ridha Belhaj, enjoys influence in a number of Central Asian countries, such as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. The party maintains that it condemns violence, and has never appeared on any list of terrorist organizations.
Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki announced during a TV interview, hosted by Lebanese journalist Marcel Ghanem, that he supports the notion of granting licenses to Salafist parties - possibly in reference to Hizb Ettahrir.