As the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt flexes its muscles with talk of running a Presidential candidate and controlling the writing of the Constitution, Tunisia's Al-Nahda (Ennahda) Movement is taking a different tack, declining to support efforts to insert a clause in the Constitution that would declare Shari‘a the major source of legislation. Al-Nahda has long said that it is content with the existing first article, which declares that the religion of the state is Islam and its language is Arabic.
Reaffirming the "Arab Muslim identity" clause gives centrality to the role of Islam in Tunisian identity without writing Shari‘a into the constitution, and is in keeping with Al-Nahda's efforts so far to maintain peace with secular parties in the highly Westernized country, while more extreme Salafi groups are agitating for a Shari‘a clause. The "Arab Islamic identity" formula is generally uncontroversial in Tunisia, which lacks has only a small Jewish population and no real indigenous Christian population. Though Amazigh/Berber activists would prefer to downplay the "Arabic" identity, retaining the existing clause is clearly the line of least resistance.