Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood Leader Blames Terrorism On Poverty; Rachid Ghannouchi Recently Called Stabbing Attacks In Israel “A Historic Opportunity”

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Al Jazeera is reporting that Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Ghannouchi has said that poverty and unemployment are the most important factors in explaining the appeal of terrorism to young people in his country. According to the report, Ghannouchi said that his party preached Islam as “ a religion of peace, forgiveness, justice, fraternity, mercy and science”:

November 14, 2015 Rachid Ghannouchi, the head of the Islamist Ennahdha Party, has said poverty and unemployment are the most important factors in explaining the appeal of terrorism to young people in his country.

The veteran Ennahdha leader said on Saturday that the lack of opportunity created fertile platforms for terrorism to grow, pointing out that ‘freedom alone does not change much in the lives of people if it is not supported by the rule of law and inclusive growth’.

‘Terrorism is very strongly related to economic crisis. Many of the people who took the road of extremism are raised in marginalised and poor areas,’ Ghannouchi told the Conservatives and Reformists Summit, which concludes in Tunis on Saturday.

Conservatives and Reformists, the third largest parliamentary group in the European Parliament, are holding a two-day summit in Tunis in order to initiate a political alliance with the centre-right parties.

The summit focuses on advancing the values and capacities of centre-right political parties in the Muslim world, as well as strengthening the moderate centre-right in the post-2011 Arab Spring nations in North Africa and the Middle East.

The Ennahdha leader also said that a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of Islam coupled with a dysfunctional upbringing and lack of education also play a role in feeding terrorism.

Ghannouchi highlighted the role played by his party in preaching Islam as a religion of peace, forgiveness, justice, fraternity, mercy and science.

‘We, in Ennahdha party, are not just a political party, but also a school in Islam and Islamic thinking that preaches Islam as a religion of freedom and human rights. That’s is why fundamentalists and terrorists bear a grudge against the Ennahdha movement because we present Islam in a way that differs from them.’

Organisers of the summit say their choice of Tunisia as the venue was meant to show support for its fight against ‘terrorism’ and to applaud its revolution model.

Tunisia remains relatively calm following the 2011 uprising that toppled president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The security situation, however, remains fragile as several incidents of violence – blamed on Islamists – have occurred.

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The GMBDW reported in October that Ghannouchi had called the recent wave of stabbing attacks in Israel historic opportunity to “liberate Jerusalem.”

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. ” In January 2011, Ghannouchi returned to Tunisia after a long exile in the UK and two weeks after the Tunisian leader Zine El Abidine Ben was forced from power in the events which triggered the “Arab Spring.” The GMBDW reported earlier this year that Ghannouchi had met with the US State Department and been on tour in the US in spite of his long history of extremism and support for terrorism.

For a history of Mr. Ghannouchi’s extremism, go here.

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