Last month, the Washington Post published an interview with Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Ghannouchi. Perhaps the most interesting aspects of the interview are the following passages in which Mr. Ghannouchi attempts to deceive the interviewer. In this passage, Ghannouchi claims that the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) is not “political” and avoids any discussion of the role of Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi:
You are a senior member of the international Muslim Brotherhood?
We [Ennahda] are a Tunisian party.
Aren’t you the head of the political bureau of the international Muslim Brotherhood?
No, you are talking about the International Union of Muslim Scholars. It’s not political.
It is run by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi [one of the top Muslim Brotherhood ideologues].
It is not a coincidence that Tunisia was the first country of the Arab Spring. I believe that Tunisia will be successful in presenting a successful democratic model because we have a homogenous society, with a small Jewish minority. Education is widespread; we have a large middle class which supports democracy. We have a moderate Islamic party, which has been one of the champions of the idea of the compatibility between Islam and democracy.
We could have written the constitution on our own, but we didn’t do this because we wanted the constitution to be written not just by Islamists but by everyone. After the elections, we chose to form a coalition government not with other Islamists but with other secular parties because we wanted to send a message that the country is for everyone.
The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) was launched on July 11, 2004 in conjunction with a visit by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi to London for a meeting of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. Many prominent individuals tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and/or Hamas serve as IUMS Trustees. In 2004, the IUMS ruled that “resisting occupation troops in Iraq is a ‘duty’ on able Muslims in and outside the war-torn country and that aiding the occupier is impermissible.”
In this passage, Ghannouchi claims that he never predicted the end of Israel:
In 2011, you predicted the end of Israel. Do you expect this to come true?
This is the first time I’ve heard about this.
What do you think of Israel?
There is a problem there that hasn’t been solved yet. There is a problem with occupation. So far, Israel has failed to reach an agreement — with [Yasser] Arafat in the past and Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] now. We hear that even Hamas is supporting the idea of a two-state solution, but we don’t see Israel going towards this solution.
In May 2011, we published an English translation of an interview with Ghannouchi in which he clearly says that “Israel will come to an end sooner” than predicted.
Read the whole interview here.
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. In2009, 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.” Mr. Ghannouchi 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. From 1988-92, the Islamic Committee for Palestine organized conferences and rallies in the United States that featured the leading figures from 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.
For more on the extremist background of Rachid Ghannouchi, go here.