On February 6, 2013, unidentified gunmen on motorcycles gunned down forty-eight year old Chokri Belaïdare-a leftist opposition leader, human rights advocate, and father of two. His assassination is throwing the country into the worst political unrest and turmoil since the revolution that brought down President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali two years ago. The new democratically elected government is largely Islamic.
While an uneasy calm prevailed over Tunis, the capital, on Thursday (7 February 2013), full-scale riots broke out in the southern city of Gafsa. The people of the mining city of Gafsa provided the slain leader a strong base of support. Demonstrators called for the resignation of the cabinet. They, along with Belaïdare’s family, see the Ennahda Party (the political party with strong Islamist ties that leads the coalition government in Tunisia) as being involved in his killing.
In an effort to appease the critics, the prime minister offered dissolution of the government. His ruling party, Ennahda, rejected the offer. This further antagonized the opposition and demonstrators who are calling for justice. General Union of Tunisian Workers has called for a general strike on Friday, 8 February, to express their opposition to the Ennahda government, whom they hold as sympathizers of Islamists.
The assassination of Belaïdare has revealed serious problems the country is facing. Human Rights advocates, like Belaïdare himself, have long been warning that certain Islamist elements are trying to hijack the country. Human Rights Watch has documented various cases of violence against people with political and cultural views contrary to extreme Islamist agenda. In many instances authorities have failed to investigate these atrocities, let alone prosecute the criminals. This climate of indifference has given extremists room to freely commit acts of violence.
Moreover, Belaïdare’s assassination has revealed a rift not only between the Ennahda government and the secular opposition, but also within the government.
- Pray for God’s comfort to surround Belaïdare’s family, so they will come to know the love of Christ during this difficult time. (The Bible, 2 Corinthians 1:3,4).
- Pray that Islamists do not use these uncertain times to take over the country (The Bible, 2 Thessalonians 3:3).
- Pray that the people of Tunisia will not accept the direction the new Islamic government is taking the country. Pray Tunisians’ protests will lead to real reforms and human rights for the people. (The Bible, Micah 6:8).
- Pray that the Church is bold in sharing the Gospel messageand seeks to bring glory and praise toGodthe Father, Son and Holy Spirit all over Tunisia. (The Bible, Acts 4:29,30)
- Pray for the peace and protection of Christian Believers during these troubling times and also in the coming days (The Bible, Isaiah 41:10).
Source: WIN Prayer Alert