The republic of Tunisia called for an Interpol investigation into a Tunisian citizen now living in Europe. His crime? He disrespected the Quran.
Bassem Sellami posted two videos on YouTube in late September. The first shows some youth destroying the Muslim holy book, and in the second, dubbed, “The Real place of the Quran,” it’s thrown away as garbage. For that, Tunisia wants the full weight of the European Union brought to bear on the young man, according to Tunisia Live.
Tunisia Live reported:
Sellami wrote yesterday on Facebook to “friends, supporters, and sympathizers” that he is safe and added that “Interpol cannot interfere in such cases that are considered matters of freedom of speech.”
Sellami, who frequently voices what he calls “anti-Islamization” opinions online posted two YouTube videos last week. The first shows him kneeling next to a person wearing a veil and apparently reading the Quran, before closing the holy book, standing, and throwing it to a third individual who bats it with a skateboard, breaking the book into pieces.
The other video shows Sellami holding and looking at a Quran before slamming it into a trash can.
Tunisia’s Ministry of Interior used its Facebook page to call on Interpol to take action, though it did not specify which laws Sellami violated.
Although some Facebook comments supported the ministry’s actions, many others were like those of Mohamed Arbi Ben Hamouda, who thought its call for action could prove counter-productive. Arbi cited the case of Amina Sboui, who was jailed for a topless protest affiliated with the international feminist organization, Femen.
“Forget about it, you’re not getting anywhere with this,” Ben Hamouda wrote. “Because of Amina, 200 women around the world expressed their support for her and got naked. You never know how many people would speak up against this asking to free the guy and stomping on the Quran themselves.”
In an email sent to BizPac Review a man who identified himself as Sellami confirmed that he “moved to Europe because [he’d] been followed by extremists and nationalists,” even attacked, while in Tunisia because he’s not Muslim.
“I felt threatened in Tunisia before leaving and now it’s impossible to go back there because I will be arrested if I will not be killed,” he said.
Although he feels safer where he’s now living, Sellami said he still doesn’t feel completely comfortable because no visa is required for Tunisian travelers and he’s surrounded by Turks and Albanians.
Since arriving in Europe, he’s already received death threats, he said.
“I received messages from people saying that they [located] me and they are coming to kill me here,” Sellami said in the email, adding one final message he wanted to make sure BizPac Review published.
“The world must struggle against the Islam because it’s the cause of all of this terror we are watching,” he said. “I believed since before that Islam is terror but after posting those videos and pics I believed more and more in that because of the threats and messages I received from Muslims.”
Here are the videos that caused an international furor. The first, “A group of youth reading the Quran”:
“The Real place of the Quran”: