Monday, February 17, 2014

Break Dancing vs. Religious Extremism

The Arab Spring began in Tunisia as a revolt against joblessness, economic stagnation, and government indifference. Since then the economy has gotten worse and unemployment has risen, especially among the young. Many young people have turned to Salifism and hundreds have gone to fight in Syria. But the democratic political system continues to function and other young people remain committed to modernization. One of them is Nidhal Bouallagui, 23, a veteran of the revolution who now organizes community centers to offer activities like theater, fencing, and break dancing:
“We want to expand this phenomenon all over Tunisia,” said one of the top break dancers, Alla Bouzid. “We want to eradicate the old mentality of people. We want the cycle of Tunisia to change. All this is happening since the revolution. We want to live how we want.”
In the contest for the hearts and minds of Islamic youth, the west has powerful weapons: freedom and fun.

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