Clashes broke out between alcohol sellers and hardline Salafist Muslims in the Tunisian capital, a security official said on Sunday, wounding a police commander in the latest illustration of religious tensions in the home of the Arab Spring.
Tunisia, whose authoritarian president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, was overthrown by a popular uprising last year, now has an elected Islamist-led government.
The struggle over the role of religion in government and society has since emerged as the most divisive issue in the North African country, which for decades was considered one of the most secular countries in the Arab world.
On Saturday night, a group of hardline Salafist Muslims attacked alcohol vendors in their small shops, a security official said. Police intervened to stop the violence.
"Commander Wissam Ben Sliman was injured last night in clashes after Salafis attacked alcohol sellers in the Dawar Hicher [area]," Sami Gnaoui, a member of the National Guard [police] syndicate said. "They attacked him with a knife in the neck. He is now in hospital in critical condition."
Last month, dozens of Salafist Muslims attacked a hotel in Sidi Bouzid, the birthplace of Tunisia's revolution, because it was serving alcohol. They destroyed furniture and smashed bottles of alcohol.
[Excerpt—See accompanying URL for full original text]