Security worries in Tunisia after Islamist anti-Jewish rally

By Jennifer Lipman, February 16, 2011
The protest was held outside the main synagogue in Tunis

The protest was held outside the main synagogue in Tunis

Members of Tunisia’s 2,000 year old Jewish population have raised concerns about rising anti Jewish violence in the country following the collapse of the rule of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali last month.

Earlier this week around 40 Tunisian Muslims gathered outside the main synagogue in Tunis shouting anti-Jewish slogans and reportedly calling for death to Jews.

Some were holding banners with verses from the Koran on, others chanted "Jews wait, the army of Mohammed is coming back” and "We'll redo the battle of Khaybar” – a reference to a battle of the year 629 during which it was said Mohammed’s forces attacked and conquered Jewish tribes.

The incident prompted the leaders of the country’s Jewish community, which is estimated to be numbered at up to 2,000 people, to call on interim Prime Minister Mohammed Ghanoucci to improve security for Jews.

Jewish leader Roger Bismuth told Mr Ghannouchi about the demonstration and said: “I think this is something that might happen again.”

A spokesman for Tunisia’s Interior Ministry condemned the protesters and said: "We will spare no effort to safeguard these values and oppose all those who want to incite violence or discord between the Tunisian people and disturb public security".

Watch a video from the demonstration here

Last updated: 10:50am, February 16 2011