A series of hot-button debates between Islamists and secularists in Tunisia and Morocco are distracting both sides from their countries’ more pressing issues and fuelling already dangerous currents of polarisation.

A key example is the recent discussion about banning or criminalising the practice of takfir – the declaration by one Muslim that another is an apostate, the term for a former adherent who now rejects Islam as a religion.

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This article was originally published in the National.