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How Tunisia’s moderate imams are seeking to reclaim Islam from extremists

Tunisia is taking important steps to counter jihadism, but must also address the underlying causes of extremism.
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TUNIS, Tunisia — As Tunisia addresses its recent terrorist threat with a short-term security crackdown, long-term measures from the Ministry of Religious Affairs aim to take back Islam from extremists and enlighten its youth through social media and the help of moderate imams.

“It is we who represent Islam. Not them,” Najet Hammami of Tunisia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs told Al-Monitor recently. Hammami was referring to radical elements behind the country’s three major terrorist attacks this year: the attack on the Bardo National Museum in Tunis March 18, the mass shooting at a tourist resort in Sousse June 26 and the latest, the Nov. 24 suicide bombing of a military bus in downtown Tunis. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for all three attacks.

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