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Thousands of Tunisians have rallied outside parliament to call for an Islamic state ruled by religious law.

It is the latest sign of the struggle that has erupted over the role of religion in politics since last year’s revolution that ousted Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

The protest was timed to coincide with parliamentary negotiations over a new constitution
in a country long considered one of the Arab world’s most secular.

One of the organisers who handed in a petition said “more than 200 Islamic organisation are backing the move.”

As Islamists did not play a prominent role in last year’s uprising, some secularists fear their demands will undermine Tunisia’s fledgling democracy.

Although the moderate Islamist Ennahda won October’s elections, it has promised not to ban alcohol or impose the veil.

With a crucial tourism industry, Tunisia is still struggling to attract people back to the country.

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