MIDEAST CRISIS: Hamas Prime Minister Congratulates Ghannouchi On Return To Tunisia


MEMRI has translated an Iranian news report on congratulations extended by the Hamas Prime MInister to Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Ghannouchi who recently returned to Tunisia. According to the MEMRI translation:

Gaza Hamas prime minister Isma’il Haniya congratulated Rachid Al-Gannouchi, the leader of the Tunisian Islamist movement, upon his return to Tunisia after 20 years away, and congratulated the Tunisian people for attaining democracy and freedom. .Haniya stressed that Tunisia would remain a bulwark for the Palestinian people and its cause. Al-Ghannouchi thanked Haniya and said that Gaza and its steadfastness were the source of inspiration and salvation for the Tunisian people. Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of the Iranian daily Kayhan, which is close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, stated that Al-Ghannouchi’s statement that he “is not Ayatollah Khamenei nor a Shi’ite” was aimed at calming the U.S. about the uprising in Tunisia, and explained that Al-Ghannouchi was not aware of the Islamism of the Tunisian uprising and of Khamenei’s high status among the Tunisian public.

Source: Kayhan, Iran; Maannews.net, February1, 2011

Earlier posts reported on the return of Mr. Ghannouchi.

An Egyptian news report has identified Rashid Ghannouchi (many spelling variations) as a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood “abroad.” Ghannouchi is the leader in-exile of the Tunisian Islamist movement known as Nahada (aka Ennahda, Al Nahda) and can best be described as an independent Islamist power center who is tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood by hismembership in the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) and his important position in the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), both organizations led by Global Muslim Brotherhood Youssef Qaradawi. Al-Ghannouchi is also one of the founding members of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi organization closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and dedicated to the propagation of “Wahabist” Islam throughout the world. Ghannouchi is known for his thinking on the issue of Islam and citizenship rights.

In 1994, scholar Martin Kramer reported on the extremist background of Al-Ghannouchi. According to that report:

Assuming a valid distinction can be made between Islamists who are “extremist” and “reformist,” Ghannouchi clearly belongs to the first category. Since his last visit to the United States, he has openly threatened U.S. interests, supported Iraq against the United States and campaigned against the Arab-Israeli peace process. Indeed, Ghannouchi in exile has personified the rejection of U.S. policies, even as he dispatches missives to the State Department.

The Hamas charter states that it is ” is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and an Israeli TV station has reported that in 2008, Muslim Brotherhood “representatives” traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the open border to meet with Hamas. An earlier media report indicated that shortly after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives were present to review Hamas military formations. Last June, a Hamas journalist acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons.

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