New European Muslim Brotherhood Youth Leadership President Is Daughter Of Rachid Ghannouchi


The GMBDW has identified a third child of an important Global Muslim Brotherhood leader recently elected to the leadership of the Federation of Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO). As we posted yesterday, FEMYSO announced the results of its election for the organization’s Executive Committee and which included an individual identified as Intissar Kherigi who was elected as the FEMYSO President. As we reported in December 2012, Ms. Kherigi is the daughter of Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Ghannouchi who uses the familial surname. A Hudson Institute report provides some background on Mr. Ghannouchi’s daughters:

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 7.09.07 PMGhannouchi’s daughters, who became personally involved in the Brotherhood movement and in related political causes, also help to show how life in the West has impacted al-Nahda’s organization and development. For example, his daughter Soumaya al-Ghannouchi became a prominent media figure while only in her twenties in the 2003-2005 UK protests against the Iraq War.  These organized protests were often staged in conjunction with pan-Brotherhood groups such as MAB as well as far-left organizations such as the Socialist Workers Party. Through this experience, al-Nahda activists like Ms. Ghannouchi acquired useful experience working in coalitions with other Islamist as well as non-Islamist movements.  They were also exposed to a range of non-Islamist ideas. Another daughter, Intissar Kherigi (who uses Ghannouchi’s familial surname) also rose to prominence by helping organize “Islam Expo,” a pan-Islamist event held in London in 2006 that brought together Islamist speakers (including her father) from around the world.[21]  Both daughters have also written extensively, particularly for The Guardian and the al-Jazeera website.  While they do not argue for Islamist policies per se, a frequent theme of their polemical writing is opposing Western counter-terrorism strategies and foreign policy as hostile toward Muslims, often from a left-leaning perspective. For instance, Soumaya Ghannouchi accused Tony Blair of “secularized missionary absolutism” and of “constantly pointing the finger at Muslims.”[22]  A third daughter, Yusra Ghannouchi, also engaged in activism and later became a spokeswoman for her father’s party.[23]

As reported at the time, and consistent with the Hudson report, then FEMYSO Vice-President Kherigi announced a new campaign aimed at developing what “a pan-European youth-led Green Muslim movement.

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.)

A NEFA Foundation report identifies FEMYSO as the youth/student arm of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), representing the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Over the years, FEMYSO has developed a relationship with both the Council of Europe and the European Commission where it has been invited since 2003 to attend meetings of the Group of Policy Advisers (GOPA). One of the important leaders of FEMYSO over the years has been Ibrahim El-Zayat, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany. Michael Privot, a Belgian convert and former youth leader in FIOE who in 2008 had openly acknowledged being part of the Muslim Brotherhood, has written in his blog that he has “put an end to all my links and ties with the European Muslim Brotherhood.” Our post from yesterday identified two other FEMYSO leaders as children of important European Muslim Brotherhood leaders. 

(Disclosure:  US Muslim Brotherhood report authored by GMBDW editor)

Comments are closed.