Simon Slama and his family are the only Jews left in the Tunisian city of Monastir, once home to a thriving Jewish community. But instead of joining the exodus, he is running for office — as a candidate of Tunisia’s Islamist party.
Slama’s candidacy with the Ennahdha party in May municipal elections is causing a sensation in this overwhelmingly Muslim country, and some controversy. Critics see it as a calculated tactic by Ennahdha to regain power and to restore its reputation among Western allies like the United States. Others however see it as an example of Tunisia’s long-standing traditions of tolerance.
A sewing machine salesman and repairman, 56-year-old Slama says he just wants to serve his country and the city where he was born, suffering from economic difficulties and social tensions. “I chose Ennahdha because I found that because of the crisis the country is going through, everyone is turning toward this party,” he told The Associated Press in his workshop.—Agencies