A police raid, carried out on the first day of the holy month, on restaurants and coffee shops popular with tourists in the Ennasr district is certainly the first of its kind. Fasting and abstention from alcohol have always been observed in public places during Ramadan. However, this time, the raid and the closure of restaurants and coffee shops constitute an unprecedented event in the history of Tunisian tourism. It is not important whether or not such places are frequented by non-Muslim tourists, the message is clear, those who do not fast are in every way unwelcome here.
Like Egypt to the east, Tunisia’s new government must decide how it can balance the religious beliefs of its leaders with the compromises that are necessary for making a well-functioning, free society — if that’s indeed what they want.
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