MEMRI has published a report titled “Al-Nahda Chairman Rached Al-Ghannouchi At Tunis Conference In Support Of Palestinian Prisoners: ‘Allah, Grant Me Martyrdom At Jerusalem’s Doorstep.” According to the report, Ghannouchi declared his readiness to die as a ‘martyr’ on Jerusalem’s doorstep. The report begins:
On November 10-11, 2012, Tunisia hosted the ‘International Conference in Support of Palestinian Prisoners in the Jails of the Zionist Occupation,’ under the auspices of Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki. Present at the conference were hundreds of freed Palestinian prisoners from Gaza and the West Bank, among them Ahlam Al-Tamimi, the female terrorist who was involved in August 9, 2001 suicide bombing at the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem and who was freed under the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange,and Islamic Jihad operative Mahmoud Al-Sarsak, who was released following his three-month hunger strike. Also in attendance were Palestinian senior officials from various factions unaffiliated with the PA, such as ‘Atallah Abu Al-Sabah, minister of prisoners affairs for the Hamas government in Gaza, as well as other Palestinian public figures, including Palestinian National Initiative party leader Mustafa Barghouti, PLO cofounder Farouq Al-Qaddoumi, and Raed Salah, the head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, known for his criticism of Palestinian Authority policy. At the conference, Tunisian leaders expressed their support for the liberation of Palestine. Rached Al-Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamic Al-Nahda party, that heads the ruling coalition in Tunisia, even declared his readiness to die as a ‘martyr’ on Jerusalem’s doorstep. The conference concluded with a decision to establish an office in Tunisia that would monitor the issue of the Palestinian prisoners, work to improve their conditions of imprisonment and to facilitate their release, and raise awareness for their cause in the international arena. Agreement was also reached to work against normalization with Israel. The PA boycotted the conference on the grounds that it had not been invited as the official representative of the Palestinian people, but only as a guest. The decision to boycott the conference may have come in protest over Tunisia’s policy, which favors the Hamas government over the PA. This policy is indicative of the PA’s gradual enfeeblement, which began some time ago with Hamas’s takeover of Gaza and the stalemate in the diplomatic process (though recently the PA has bounced back following its successful U.N. bid for ‘non-member observer state’ status).
Read the rest here.
A post from last week reported that Ghannouchi had attended a U.K. state dinner sponsored by members of the British royal family where he accepted the Chatham House prize and received a scroll signed by Queen Elizabeth.
Much of media has taken to characterizing Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood, as a “moderate.” However in May 2009, he signed a statementn calling for a “third Jihadist front” centered on Gaza. As we reported at the time, the statement was issued at a meeting in Istanbul where religious scholars and clerics met with senior Hamas officials. According to a translation of the statement obtained by the GMBDW, among the signatories of the conference statement were the following global Muslim Brotherhood leaders:
- Sheikh Rachid al-Ghannouchi (leader in-exile of the Tunisian Islamist movement known as Nahada)
- Muhammad Sawalha (leader in the U.K Muslim Brotherhood, former Hamas military commander)
- Dr. Hamam Sa’id, Jordan (Head of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood)
It should be noted that among the signatories was Dr. Walid Musa’id al-Tabatibai (aka Walid al-Tabtabai), a well-known Kuwaiti parliamentarian and Salafi leader who authored a letter praising Osama Bin Laden. Dr. al-Tabtabai and Ghannouchi both spoke later at a December 2011 meeting of the Global Anti-Aggression Campaign (GACC) held in Tunisia. The GACC was described in a 2005 media report as:
… a militant, anti-American entity established by more than 225 radical figures from across the Islamic world as a response to the US invasion of Iraq. The group’s initial statement condemned “the Zionists and the American administration led by right-wing extremists that are working to expand their control over nations and peoples, loot their resources, destroy their will, and to change their educational curricula and social system”.  In November 2004, Hawali and Auda were among 26 Saudi clerics, most of whom receive their salaries from the Saudi royal family, who published a religious statement urging Muslims to wage holy war in Iraq.
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.
Consistent with his participation in the GACC, Mr. Ghannouchi has had a long history of association with extremism and Palestinian terrorism. From 1988-92, the Islamic Committee for Palestine organized conferences and rallies in the United States that featured the leading lights of Islamic extremist movements throughout the world. One example of such a conference took place in Chicago from December 22-25, 1989 and featured Mr. Gahannouchi as a speaker. Its theme was “Palestine, Intifada, and Horizons of Islamic Renaissance” and other speakers included Abd Al-‘Aziz Al’Awda, the “spiritual leader” of Islamic Jihad and Muhammad ‘Umar of Hizb Al-Tahrir, the Islamic Liberation Party. In 1994, scholar Martin Kramer had reported on Mr. Ghannouchi’s extremist background:
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.
Kramer also notes a statement by Mr. Ghannouchi in which he alleges that Jews are behind a “worldwide campaign against Islam.”
In another article posted that same year on an Islamic website, Mr. Ghannouchi wrote:
Zionism can be seen as hostile to every element rooted in ethical and religious principles (excepting those remnants, which can be exploited as slogans and national myths). It both represents and serves the new existential ethos which transforms the human race into ‘marketing’ and ‘geopolitical’ units which can be deployed, rewarded or punished by the powers that be, who are accountable to no-one save themselves. Zionism, then, nurtured by and in turn nurturing this global pseudo-civilization, represents a secular onslaught on the heart of our Islamic nation. The Islamic project, by contrast, is its polar opposite, representing the hope that human civilization can be rescued from this new worship of the golden calf.
As recently as 2002, Mr. Ghannouchi co-signed a statement that said “The bodies of the men and women of Palestine are shields against the Zionist agenda, which its greater target is to destroy the entire Islamic Ummah.” The statement was also signed by:
- Mustafa Mashhour, the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood
- Esam Al Atar, leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood
- Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General for Hezbollah
- Ahmed Yassin, the late former spiritual leader of Hamas
In a May 2011 interview, Ghannouchi called for and predicted the end of Israel.