Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood Leader Says We No Longer Represent Political Islam; We Are Disinclined To Believe Him

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Tunisian media is reporting that Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Ghannouchi will wave his magic wand and declare that his Ennahda Party will “relinquish Political Islam.” According to a Tunisialive report:

May 19, 2016 Tunisia’s majority Ennahda Party is to relinquish the label of Political Islam, which has largely defined the party through its more than thirty year existence.

Speaking to the French newspaper, Le Monde, 74 year old Ennahda leader, Rached Ghannouchi announced the move, stating that future religious preaching would be separated from political activity.

This decision will be formalized at  the party’s 10th Congress in Rades tomorrow.

In his comments to Le Monde, Ghannouchi said that, following the revolution of 2011 and the adoption of the new Constitution in 2014, ’there is no reason’ for a party in Tunisia to refer to the term ’political Islam’.

For these reasons, Ghanouchi said, the party would seek to define itself as a democratic and civil movement, whose values are ’Islamic and modern civilization’.

Explaining his reasons for the move, Ghannouchi told Le Monde that the motivation for the shift came in part as  a reflection of the success of Tunisia’s democratic transition and also of a need to distance the party from organizations such as the Islamic State, (Daesh) and Al Qaeda.

It is also likely that by adopting a secular mandate, relations with Ennahda’s principle parliamentary partners, Nidaa Tounes will be significantly eased.

Founded as The Movement of Is lamic Tendencyin 1981 and drawing its inspiration largely from the Muslim Brotherhood, Ennahda was the principal opposition to Ben Ali’s rule for much of the 1980’s.”

Read the rest 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. 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 extremist record as identified below.

The GMBDW would be more inclined to take Ghanouchi’s renunciation of his party’s ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood seriously should he renounce for example:

  • His long history of extremism and support for terrorism.
  • His recent calls for “jihad” in Israel and his support for the stabbing of Israeli civilians.
  • His long-standing intimate relationship with Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi as detailed above

We also remain deeply skeptical about Ghanouchi’s effort to define the Ennahda Party as “a democratic and civil movement” given that in November 2015 he called the  electoral victory of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP Party ” the day of Islam and democracy.” Erdogan said in March of this year that democracy and freedom have “absolutely no value” in the country after calling for journalists, lawyers and politicians to be prosecuted as terrorists.

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