The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy held two consecutive panel discussions on Saturday, Sunday, January 30, and 31, 2021. both seminars were held "Remotely" via Zoom app, each lasting two hours, the first dedicated to Sfax, and the second to Tunis participants. Because the value of citizenship and the role of the state and members of society in combatting this phenomenon is important, the participants stressed that the responsibility of the religious perpetrator is doubled due to his direct relationship with the people through preaching, guidance, and preaching (the Imam), and highlighting the Islam tolerant values.
"Corruption is the biggest obstacle in Tunisia"
opening the discussion, the head of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy Radwan al-Masmoudi, said that corruption is the biggest problem in Tunisia. It is still ruining the state and most institutions, disrupting the country's interests internal and external and reducing its economic and social development.
Combating this phenomenon is not only the responsibility of the state, he said, but it is the duty of citizens, especially religious actors, to join the national effort and to assume their responsibility. He said that their sense of this responsibility motivates them to play their role and exercise their right to control, which would interpret into citizenship.
"We know very well that the democratic transition is a difficult process, and the establishment of a culture of citizenship, democracy, and reconstruction after years of tyranny is not easy."
"Citizens are effective by understanding their rights and duties, assuming responsibility and feeling that this country is the king and he has to protect them, just as his house and children are protected," he said.
He pointed to the large effects of corruption on Tunisian economic growth, calling for spreading a culture of fighting corruption and emphasizing the importance of moral values in this, especially among young people, as the largest energy in society and a subject on the shoulders of the country's future.
"Effective citizenship is a support for combating corruption"
Corruption is the enemy of development, political and social stability and is the enemy of man, It also violates human rights, encroaches on property, and undermines legitimate interests. said Dr. Mohammed al-Shtewi, director of the Center for Research and Studies in the Dialog of Civilizations and Religions.
Corruption has spread throughout the state and most institutions, he said and has even worsened individuals' social behavior, turning it into a form of aggressive culture with weak justifications. It has established specialized networks that manipulate the law and seek impunity. Al-Shtewi said fighting corruption has become a top priority, which requires the government to counter its efforts by working collectively with citizens.
Al-Shtewi defined patriotism as the state of psychology, the sense of love for the homeland, pride in belonging to it, and readiness to defend its interests in the face of all mistakes, develop it, and achieve its dignity. He explained citizenship by participating in belonging to the same homeland, and is a basic pillar of the civil state and the democratic system, according to which it does not differentiate between citizens on the basis of race, color, religion, or others, but on the basis of effectiveness in society.
Citizenship has three dimensions: individual freedom, the political dimension, the full right to political participation through elections and candidacy, and the social dimension, which is the right of citizens to meet their basic needs and to enjoy well-being and dignity without exclusion, he said. These include the right of citizens to education, health, social security, and others.
These three dimensions give the required effectiveness only by taking care to perform the duties before demanding rights, and at that time it becomes an effective citizen by virtue of which the citizen feels the danger and participates in the fight against it to get out of the circle of negativity and assume responsibility.
"Exercise of the State's supervisory right"
He pointed to the emergence of the mentality of the so-called "big corruption" practiced by senior government officials, public administration, and the political system in general, which results in development harms and the state's interests, as well as small corruption committed by ordinary employees and small officials within weak personal limits. He pointed out that the corrupt are working on impunity because they Breaking the Law.
The role of citizens becomes effective when they understand the meaning of effective citizenship, he said, so they have a strong sense of danger to their society and their homeland, and they act as a support for the state in confronting them.
When citizens feel that the state is not serious about fighting this phenomenon and that the real political will is not there, or that it is itself practicing corruption and protecting the corrupt, they stressed the need for this citizen to be a force of pressure on this state to back down from its choices and apply the law.
Fighting corruption is a religious and national duty, he said, and it is one of the central themes where religion meets the state. He said it is important for citizens to engage in tackling corruption, and he is fully aware that "not resisting corruption is per se corruption", and that fighting corruption is not about committing more corruption, based on a mental and legitimate basis that "damage is still harmed".
"Citizenship is a religious duty"
Sami Braham, a researcher at the Center for Economic and Social Studies and Research in Tunisia, said the establishment of the citizenship system is a religious duty, one that includes the good of the world and the other. He said the concept of citizenship is rooted in the Islamic Code and requires strong religious faith, noting that there are more than 50 verses in the Holy Quran that talk about corruption and all its levels.
He said that those who do not contribute to building the citizenship system and fighting corruption, consider their faith discordant and deficient in establishing a corner of religion. Such is the saying of the prophet (peace be upon him): "Whoever among you sees a vice, let others take it by his hand.
Citizens must be part of the citizenship system and an anti-corruption tool as a means to manage public affairs based on the relationship between themselves, their families, and the institutions in which they are present, which is based on equal rights and duties without discrimination, said.
On the other hand, he pointed out that the system of corruption is based on what the citizenship system is based on, i.e. bribery, nepotism, favoritism, and waste of public funds, etc., and it is not only represented by violations and violations of the law, but rather a whole system that builds itself glory and can have a presence in the political sphere.
He added that corruption, which does not find a citizen-state hit by it, exploits its fragility and institutions and legal loopholes to become a political actor, because corruption can fund electoral campaigns by running for leadership positions or supporting an interface of its choice, and thus becomes a parliamentary bloc that defends its interests, and becomes part of the government, including the mafia in Italy.
The government, its sectors, and all organizations and associations must become involved in the citizenship system, he said, because the opportunities for future generations of health, education, knowledge, and others are diminished when corruption becomes a system with a strong presence.
In this context, Sami Braham mentioned the training courses organized by the center over the years on citizenship, including the one held under the Youth leaders a Better Tomorrow" project, which availed 400 young men and women in 10 states.
- Value religious values and mix them with laws to adapt them to serve the culture of fighting corruption.
- Activate the role of preachers and forums to reinforce the values of citizenship and the culture of fighting corruption.
- Introduce anti-corruption laws and encourage their exploitation.
- The establishment of a culture of citizenship and the fight against corruption through an educational system contribute to highlighting these values.
- Changing terminology from the culture of fighting corruption to the principle of fighting corruption.
- Establish a strong monitoring system.
- Training citizens to enforce the law.
- Engage the media with flashcards and programs.
- Civil society organizations play an oversight and sensitization role.