Tunisian media is reporting that Radwan Masmoudi, the founder and President of Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), is being considered for the post of Tunisian ambassador to the U.S. According to the Tunisia Live report, Masmoudi also acknowledges for the first time that he has been a part of the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood since the 1980’s:
One candidate for the post of ambassador to America is Radwan Masmoudi, who confirmed to Tunisia Live this morning that his name is among those being considered for the position. Masmoudi is the founder and president of Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), a Washington based non-profit dedicated to studying Islamic and democratic political theories. ’I had some talks with the government. But, there are still discussions within the ‘Troika’ [the ruling tripartite coalition of Ennahdha, CPR, and Ettakatol]and they still haven’t made a final decision,’ stated Masmoudi. In the 1980s and 1990s, Masmoudi became affiliated with Tunisia’s Islamist opposition when he joined the country’s eminent Islamist movement, Ennahdha. However, in last October’s National Constituent Assembly’s elections he opted to run as an independent with fellow Islamist politician and founding member of Ennahdha Abdelfatteh Mourou. Masmoudi advocates for increasing Tunisian-American cooperation across a number of sectors, particularly those related to science and technology. Masmoudi describes himself as a supporter of Islamist theory that emphasizes the role of moderate and democratic Islam. ‘We have our Muslim identity, but at the same time we have to keep up with the developments happening around us and be aware that we are living in the 21st century,’ he concluded. During the press conference, Abdessalem also clarified that current Tunisian Ambassador to America Mohamed Saleh Tekaya’s mission is ending simply due to the fact that his five-year term has expired, not due to his performance within the position. “
The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) was founded in 1998 largely by the efforts of Georgetown University academic Dr. Esposito who during the 1990’s served in the State Department as a “foreign affairs analyst” and who has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations. Many members of the early CSID board were associated with IIIT, the American Muslim Council, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). For example, past CSID board members included Jamal Barzinji and Taha Al-Alwani, both associated with IIIT and both important leaders in the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood who helped to establish many of the most important U.S. Brotherhood organizations. Antony Sullivan, the current CSID Vice-Chair, has many ties to U.S. Brotherhood groups including the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS), the United Association for Studies and Research (USAR), and the Circle of Tradition and Progress (COTP), a group whose other founding members included Youssef Qaradawi, the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood. From its inception, CSID has argued that the U.S. government should support Islamist movements in foreign countries and has received financial support from the U.S. State Department, the National Endowment for Democracy and the United States Institute of Peace.
A post from May reported that the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), another part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, had organized a held a panel on ‘Constitutionalism and Democratic Transition in Tunisia’ at its headquarters in Herndon, Virginia. Senior members of the Tunisian Constituent National Assembly participated and the event was facilitated by Radwan Masmoudi. The announcement identified 3 of the 4 Tunisian participants as members of Ennahda.