A Mideast news portal has reported that the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood has hired the a large public relations firm to improve its image in the United States ahead of elections in Tunisia. According to the Al-Monitor report:
September 22, 2014 Tunisia’s Ennahda movement has hired public relations giant Burson-Marsteller to boost its image in the United States ahead of elections that could see the Islamist party return to power.
The public relations push by the Muslim Brotherhood-inspired group comes as the Barack Obama administration has declared war on Islamists in Iraq and all but signed off on the military coup that deposed its ideological brethren in Egypt. Ennahda, by contrast, is keen to maintain good relations with the United States, which has provided an economic lifeline to the struggling nation.
‘They still have to live down the reputation of Islamists coming to power in the Middle East,’ said David Ottoway, senior scholar with the Wilson Center’s Middle East program. ‘I think they’re anxious to show that there is a side of the Islamists that believes in democracy.’
Burson-Marsteller signed a contract with Ennahda’s London office, according to lobbying reports filed with the Department of Justice. The bare-bones document indicates that the PR firm has agreed to ‘arrange meetings between Ennahdha representatives and stakeholders’ and ‘encourage support for free and fair elections in Tunisia’ with the goal of providing Ennahda ‘support on media and stakeholder outreach in advance of upcoming elections.’
‘Fees and expenses,’ the documents assert, will be ‘determined at a later date.’
Read the rest here.
The Ennahda Party of Tunisia is headed by Rachid Ghannouchi (many spelling variations) who can best be described as an independent Islamist power center who is strongly tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian writer Amany Maged presents his view of the relationship between the Ennahda party and Ghannouchi to the Global Muslim Brotherhood:
Al-Nahda Party’s articles of association do not declare a link to the Muslim Brotherhood, but nor has it denied the connection. Some sources maintain that it was ideologically and organisationally inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood, whereas others say that while Ghannouchi considers the Muslim Brotherhood an ally, he does not see it as having any authority, be it hierarchical or moral, over his own movement. Yet the fact remains that Ghannouchi, Al-Nahda’s founder, is a member of the International Guidance Bureau of the Muslim Brotherhood.Al-Nahda shares a number of traits with the Muslim Brotherhood. Both, says Islamist expert Ali Abdel-Aal, have a strong organisational capacity and access to substantial funds.
The UK-based Henry Jackson Society has published a report titled “Moderates or Manipulators? Tunisia’s Ennahda Islamists” detailing the extremist positions and statements of the Ennahda Party and Rachid Ghannouchi.
The GMBDW reported last month that Ennahda had issued a statement which called the outcome of the recent Gaza conflict a “victory of moderate Islam versus terrorism and ruthless violence erroneously associated with Islam.”
For a profile on Ennahda leader Rachid Ghannouchi, go here.