A Saudi newspaper is reporting on comments made in an interview in which Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Gannouchi blamed “Zionist parties” at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy for what he says are fabrications of this statements during his recent appearance there. According to a report in Arshaq Alawsat:
London, Asharq Al-Awsat – Tunisian al-Nahda party leader Rashid Ghannouchi yesterday strongly denied the comments attributed to him by the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy and which were later published in the press to strong criticism and condemnation. The Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy, following an hour long meeting with the Tunisian political leader, claimed that he had said that he believes that 2012 would be the end of Arab monarchies, and that revolutions and uprisings would break out in a number of Arab Kingdoms. In addition to this, there were also claims that Ghannouchi had said that the Tunisian constitution would include a clause prohibiting normalization of relations with Israel. Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat during a telephone interview, the Tunisia political leader stressed “I completely deny these comments.” He added “these comments are fabricated and aim to harm our relations with the US, and Western and Arab states, particularly the Gulf States. As for Tunisia’s post-revolutionary relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ghannouchi told Asharq Al-Awsat that “we want only good things for the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia], and our policy is one of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states.”Ghannouchi accused Zionist parties at the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy of “fabricating” these comments, adding “I attended a seminar and we agreed that [my comments]would not be for publication. When they published them we complained about this issue and they apologized, but then they distorted the content [of my words], and that is in order to harm our international relations.” As for what he will do now, Ghannouchi said “we will consult with lawyers on this issue and we are accustomed to taking newspapers that libel us and attribute statements to us which we did not say to court” adding “dozens [of newspapers]have been found guilty and forced to pay compensation.”
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Rachid Ghannouchi (many spelling variations) is the leader of the Tunisian Islamist movement known as Nahda (aka Ennahda, Al Nahda) and can best be described as an independent Islamist power center who is tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood though his membership 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. An Egyptian news report has identified Ghannouchi as a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood “abroad.” 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. Earlier posts reported on the return of Mr. Ghannouchi to Tunisia following his long exile in the UK. Other posts have detailed his extremist background.