Jewish candidate for Muslim party breaks barriers in Tunisia

TUNIS, Tunisia

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Simon Slama and his family are the only Jews left in the Tunisian city of Monastir, once home to a thriving Jewish community.

But instead of joining the exodus, Slama is running for office — as a candidate of Tunisia’s Islamist party, the Ennahdha.

His candidacy in the May municipal elections is causing a sensation in this overwhelmingly Muslim country, and some controversy.

Critics see it as a calculated tactic by Ennahdha to regain power and to restore its reputation among Western allies like the United States. Others see it as an example of Tunisia’s long-standing traditions of tolerance.

The 56-year-old Slama, a sewing machine salesman and repairman, says he just wants to serve his country and the city where he was born, suffering from economic difficulties and social tensions.

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