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Ansar al-Sharia (Tunisia)

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Ansar al-Sharia (Tunisia)

Ansar al-Sharia
Ideology Salafi Jihadist
Leaders Abu Ayadh al-Tunisi
Area of operations Tunisia
Strength 1,000

Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia is a radical Islamist group that operates in Tunisia. It has around 1,000 people as part of the movement.[1] It has been listed as a terrorist group by the Tunisian government[2] as well by the United Nations, the UAE, the United Kingdom and the United States.[3]

Background

Following the Tunisian revolution, many Islamist political prisoners held by the regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali were released, including Abu Ayadh al-Tunisi, who had previously co-founded the Tunisian Combat Group with Tarek Maaroufi in June 2000.[4]

Abu Ayadh founded Ansar al-Sharia in late April 2011. The group quickly established a media branch, al-Qairawan Media Foundation, and developed different media outlets including a blog, Facebook page, and a magazine.[5]

Ansar al-Sharia has campaigned for the release of Islamist prisoners, such as Omar Abdel-Rahman, Abu Qatada and Tunisians who had fought with al-Qaeda in Iraq and are held in Iraqi jails.[5]

Ansar al-Sharia held a national conference at Kairouan in 2012 in which Abu Ayadh called for the Islamization of Tunisia's media, education, tourism and commercial sectors, and the establishment of an Islamic trade union to confront the secular Tunisian General Labour Union.[6]

Members of Ansar al-Sharia have regularly taken part in protests in Tunisia against perceived [7] Amongst the incidents are attacks on a television station that showed the movie Persepolis in October 2011, attacks on a controversial art exhibit in June 2012,[8] an attack on the US embassy in September 2012[9] and the assassination of Chokri Belaid (February 2013) and Mohamed Brahmi (July 2013).[10]

Foreign Relations

Designation as a terrorist organization

Countries and organizations below have officially listed the Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia as a terrorist organization.

9-23-14
Country Date References
 United Kingdom April 2014 [11]
 United States [12]
[13]
 Tunisia [14]

Allies

Counties Ansar al-Shariah has allied with.

Country Date References
2014 [15][16]

References

  1. ^ "Meeting Tunisia's Ansar al-Sharia". Foreign Policy. 8 March 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Tunisia declares Ansar al-Sharia a terrorist group". BBC News. 27 August 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "US Declares Ansar al-Sharia a Terrorist Organization". BBC News. 10 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Tarek Maaroufi: Tunisia’s Most Notorious Jihadist, Returns Home". Tunisia Live. 1 April 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "The Salafi Challenge to Tunisia's Nascent Democracy". Washington Institute. 8 December 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Radical Islamists urge bigger role for Islam in Tunisia". Reuters. 21 May 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Noureddine Baltayeb (3 October 2013). "Tunisia: New Details in Opposition Assassination Point to Libyan Islamist".  
  8. ^ "Tunisia: Conservative Islamists Riot Over Art Exhibit". New York Times. 12 June 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "Two dead as protesters attack U.S. embassy in Tunisia". Reuters. 14 September 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Tunisia leaders evicted from police memorial". Al Jazeera English. 18 October 2013. Retrieved ~{0} ~{1}. 
  11. ^ https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/324603/20140627-List_of_Proscribed_organisations_WEBSITE_final.pdf
  12. ^ http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm
  13. ^ http://www.police.govt.nzs/default/files/publications/designated-entities-26-11-2014.pdf
  14. ^ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-23853241
  15. ^ "allAfrica.com: Tunisia: Ansar Al-Sharia Tunisia Spokesman Backs Isis". Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  16. ^ Abdallah Suleiman Ali (3 July 2014). "Global jihadists recognize Islamic State". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 

Further reading

  • Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Bridget Moreng & Kathleen Soucy, (International Centre for Counter-Terrorism - The Hague, 2014)Raising the Stakes: Ansar Al-Sharia in Tunisia's Shift to Jihad
  • Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, (International Centre for Counter-Terrorism - The Hague, 2013)Ansar al-Sharia Tunisia's Long Game: Dawa, Hisba and Jihad

External links

  • Ansar al-Sharia on Twitter (Arabic)
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