Tunisia starts religious radio station
Tunis , September 16, 2007
Tunisia's first religious radio station started broadcasting on the first day of Ramadan.
This is an attempt by the secular government to give a platform to moderates and to keep extremists at bay.
Ezzeitouna (The Olive Tree), sponsored by the son-in-law of President Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali, will mostly broadcast programmes about Islam's holy Koran and the life of the Prophet Mohammed.
'The launch of this radio station is part of ... the encouragement of the dissemination of the enlightened thinking and noble values of Islam including notably tolerance, mutual help and moderation,' official news agency TAP said yesterday.
In a speech in March, Ben Ali said the government needed to be in close contact with the young and boost job creation to curb the influence of Islamist extremists.
Tunisia has North Africa's largest middle class, a booming tourist industry and a reputation for political stability.
The country of 10 million has been spared suicide bombings in recent years, unlike its Maghreb neighbours Algeria and Morocco, but the calm broke briefly at the turn of the year when security forces clashed with gunmen in a Tunis suburb.
A previously unknown group calling itself Tunisian Youth for Unity and Jihad said the gunmen were its members.Reuters