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Tunisia imam accused of incitement against Jews

Published: Updated:
A Tunisian support group for minorities on Wednesday said it has lodged a complaint against an imam, accusing him of inciting hatred against Jews in a fiery sermon broadcast on television.



“We have lodged a complaint with the court of the first instance in Ben Arous against the imam of Rades mosque, Sheikh Ahmed S’hili, for inciting hatred,” the association’s lawyer Kais Baltagi told AFP.



The complaint is based on legislation which stipulates that anyone using media to “incite hatred between races, religions and people” can be jailed for up to three years.



S'hili’s sermon was aired on November 30 by the private network Hannibal TV.



The channel itself is not included in the complaint since it broadcast the imam's remarks live and was unaware in advance of the nature of his comments, Baltagi said.



In the sermon, S’hili heaped abuse on Jews and urged God to wipe them from the face of the earth.



“O Allah, you know what those accursed Jews have done, the corruption they spread across Earth... Strike them so that there is not one of them left. Allah, make the men and women sterile,” he said.



He spoke after a ceasefire deal between Israel and the Palestinian movement Hamas that ended November 14-21 fighting in and around the Gaza Strip.



The conflict left 174 Palestinians dead -- more than 100 of them civilians -- as well as six Israelis, four civilians and two soldiers.



The Jewish community in Tunisia is one of the largest in the Arab world but its numbers have dropped from 100,000 at independence from France in 1956 to around 1,500 today.