A New York Times article posted yesterday explores the struggle between the new moderate government of Tunisia and more radical Salafists, saying in part:
Revolution freed the country’s estimated 5,000 officially sanctioned mosques from the rigid controls of the previous government, which appointed every prayer leader and issued lists of acceptable topics for their Friday sermons.
That system pushed a moderate, apolitical model of Islam that avoided confronting a dictator. When the system collapsed last year, ultraconservative Salafis seized control of up to 500 mosques by government estimates. The government, a proponent of a more temperate political Islam, says it has since wrested back control of all but 70 of the mosques, but acknowledges it has not yet routed the extremists nor thwarted their agenda.