Of all the Arab countries which have overthrown dictators, Tunisia probably provides the most cause for optimism, despite the election of an Islamist government. While the Arab Spring turns chilly in so many countries, the Tunisian government has appeared determined both to develop Tunisia and to accept the accountability for which the Tunisian people arose.
How disappointing it is, then, that Ennahda—Tunisia’s supposedly moderate Islamist party—has decided to divert attention from the real issues Tunisia faces with an anti-gay jihad. Samir Dilou, the former spokesman for Ennahda who now is the Tunisian minister for human rights, has reportedly argued that Tunisian gays should not have freedom of speech.
Most progressives remain silent on the plight of gays in Tunisia or, for that matter, Iran and other Islamist states. One of the ironies of the so-called progressive movement is the animus it holds toward Israel given that Israel embraces the liberalism and tolerance for which progressives say they stand.