Arabic media is reporting on the February 25 dinner held in Washington DC by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) to honor Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Ghannouchi. According to a report at Alwatanvoice.com, the event was attended by numerous US government officials:
March 19, 2014 Tunisian parliamentarians, senior U.S. officials, diplomats, Middle East experts, media representatives, and a wide array of friends of Tunisia gathered on February 25th, 2014, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC to celebrate the country’s historic constitution and to honor and recognize the efforts and leadership of Mr. Rached Ghannouchi, leading Islamic scholar and President of the Nahdha Party in Tunisia. The banquet, hosted by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) and the National Council on U.S.-Arab relations, commemorated the adoption on January 26, 2014 of one of the Arab world’s most progressive constitutions, with unprecedented guarantees of freedom of religion and women’s rights. Over 150 guests attended the event (who’s who in Washington DC). Among the main speakers at the Banquet Dinner to welcome and honor Mr. Rached Ghannouchi to Washington DC were Gerald Feierstein, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, John Esposito, University Professor at Georgetown University, Bill Lawrence, President of American Tunisian Association, John Duke Anthony, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy, Lorne Craner, President of the International Republican Institute, and William Taylor, V.P. at the US Institute of Peace.
The mood of the evening was celebratory and congratulatory. Guests watched a euphoric video of the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly (NCA) singing the national anthem minutes after the passage of the constitution. Eight speakers then took to the stage, crediting a wide range of Tunisian political and civil society actors for working together to achieve this milestone. Vice President of the U.S. Institute for Peace William Taylor described the mood in Tunis during a recent trip as
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The GMBDW reported last month that Mr. Ghannouchi would be speaking at this CSID event. Despite recent events in Egypt and the Gulf, the attendance of US officials confirms other GMBDW reporting indicating that the US is continuing its relationship with the Global Muslim Brotherhood. Earlier this week, we reported that US officials participated in an event featuring the leader of the UK Muslim 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. 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.
The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) was founded in 1998 in what appears to have been a cooperative effort among the US Muslim Brotherhood, the US State Department and Georgetown University academic Dr. John Esposito who served during the 1990’s as a State Department “foreign affairs analyst” and who has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations. Our predecessor publication reported in June 2013 reported that Radwan Masmoudi, the founder and President of CSID, had lost his bid to become the Tunisian ambassador to the U.S. Our predecessor publication had reported in January 2013 that Masmoudi, was being considered for the post. In the media report discussed in that post, Masmoudi also acknowledged for the first time that he has been a part of the Ennahda movement since the 1980’s. Both the National Endowment for the Humanities (NED) and the U.S. Institute for Peace (USIP) have supported CSID over the years.