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Tunisia has always seemed an unlikely stronghold for radical jihadism, but four years after the Arab Spring the threat from Salafist violence is more urgent than ever.For 23 years the regime of President Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali sought to control all religious activities tightly and define for Tunisians exactly what their Islam should mean. As Ennahda struggled to recruit new young members, so the Salafists grew in number.It became easier for armed men to train in Libya before returning to Tunisia to carry out attacks – the Bardo killers, among many others, were trained across the border.Since then, however, the Salafist-jihadi movement has fractured into many small groups. Too often the authorities were unwilling to distinguish between those attracted to the nonviolent preaching of Salafism, who sought to imagine a new religious vision for Tunisia, and the smaller number of radicals intent on violence.More recently, new counterterrorism strategies have been adopted, and a new counterterrorism force has been set up.
Ennahda’s failure in the elections could accelerate the party’s division
Can Ennahda reduce Tunisian mistrust?
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