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This paper argues that the growth and legalization of Political Islamism in Tunisia will naturally hinder the contemporary influence of violent extremism, leading to partnership and inclusion within a Democratic government. The basis for this claim rests on the idea that the condemnation and repression of Political Islamism in Tunisia historically backfired and led to the further underground radicalization of Tunisians, along with scores of human rights abuses by authorities. Specifically, this essay will focus on the moderate Islamist party Ennahda, the Salafist party Ansar al-Sharia, and their complex relationship to each other as well as to domestic and regional politics at large. Furthermore, this essay will examine the wide continuum of Political Islamism at present, including the Tunisian government’s most recent agenda regarding its response to violent extremism, terrorism and acts of vigilante violence. This essay advocates for the Tunisian government to continue to allow the participation of Islamist groups within the political arena while maintaining security, transparency, and accountability for the state and its citizens.


Tunisia, Arab Spring, Political Islamism, Ennahda, MTI, Ansar al-Sharia, Salafism, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Habib Bourguiba, Rachid Ghannouchi, Maghreb, North Africa, MENA, Middle East, Democracy, Terrorism, Anti-Terrorism, Jebel Chambi, Secularism, Extremism, Nidaa Tounes.

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Copyright © 2015 by Sarah R. Louden

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.