The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has announced that together with the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), it was hosting an event featuring Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Ghannouchi. According to the ISNA announcement:
Rached Ghannouchi is the co-founder and President of the Nahdha (renaissance) movement in Tunisia, which emerged in the recent elections as the largest party in the National Constituent Assembly (NCA). Born in the village of El-Hamma in the south of Tunisia in 1941, Shaykh Ghannouchi was educated in Tunisia’s Zaitouna university, and then continued with studying philosophy in Cairo, Damascus, and Paris. Shaykh Ghannouchi became active in politics by setting up the Islamic Tendency movement in 1981, later changed to Ennahdha (Renaissance). He was imprisoned due to his political activities from 1981 to 1984 and again from 1987 to 1988. After the falsification of the 1989 legislative elections by former president Ben Ali, Shaykh Ghannouchi left for London where he lived as a political exile for two decades, until his return home on 30 January 2011, after the Tunisian revolution. Shaykh Ghannouchi is one of the most important and prolific thinkers in modern Islamic Political thought and theory. Since the early 1980’s, he has been an advocate of the compatibility between Islam and the principles of pluralism, freedom, modernity and democratic governance. His views and writings are influential in Tunisia, and the rest of the Arab and Muslim worlds.”
Both the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) are part of the US Muslim Brotherhood. A post from Monday reported on the CSID 14th annual conference that featured both Mr. Ghannouchi, who gave the keynote address, as well as US OIC Envoy Rashad Hussain who has his own history of association with the US Brotherhood.
Rachid Ghannouchi (many spelling variations) is the head of the Tunisian Ennahda Party, essentially the Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia. Mr. Ghannouchi has been a member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) and is currently and Assistant Secretary-General of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), both organizations led by Global Muslim Brotherhood Youssef Qaradawi. In 2009, an Egyptian news report referred to Ghannouchi as a leader of the MB “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. In January 2011, Ghannouchi returned to Tunisia after a long exile in the U.K and two weeks after the Tunisian leader Zine El Abidine Ben was forced from power in the events which triggered the “Arab Spring.” Despite the above characterization of Mr. Ghannouchi as a moderate, he gave a 2011 Arabic-language interview in which he predicts the end of Israel, a viewpoint which is not surprising given that he has had a long history of ties to Palestinian extremism and calls for terrorism.
For a review of Mr. Ghannouchi’s history of extremism, go here.