Tunisian Reformers Demand Freedom to Eat During Ramadan


Jailing someone for eating or drinking in public during Ramadan has always been a debatable topic between conservatives and liberal activists in Arab countries with Muslim majorities.

In Tunisia, campaign “مش بالسيف” or “MouchBessif” which means: “Nothing can be against our will”, was launched by the beginning of Ramadan 2017. Tunisian activists of Association des Libres Penseurs protesting for the right to eat and drink in public during Ramadan.

It all started in May 2017, after the Tunisian authorities arrested five men on the charges of “public indecency” after smoking a cigarette or eating in public during Ramadan.

Tunisia is a the Muslim majority country with a secular orientation, several people demanded the the government to respect their religious freedom, especially as there are no explicit laws in the country require individuals to fast or prevent them from eating in public.

Activists of the “MouchBessif” campaign are calling people to participate in a protest on May 27, 2018, for the second year in a row demanding their right to break their fast as they wish without being jailed or fined.

Since the ousting of President Zayn al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, Tunisia became known as the most liberal country in the Arab world as the country’s constitution was amended guaranteeing freedom of religion for everyone. In addition to scoring progress on human rights issues, including laws on violence against women, activists in several Arab countries are trying to follow their steps.

On social media, Tunisian users rowed over the campaign using hashtag “مش بالسيف”, with some activists calling for freedom of religion for all individuals.

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