New York Times Continues Epic Media Failures On Global Muslim Brotherhood- The Latest Puff Piece On Rachid Ghannouchi

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The New York Times has once again failed to do even the most minimal research on a Global Muslim Brotherhood leader, this time in a puff piece titled “Tunisian Islamic Party Re-elects Moderate Leader.” The article begins:

May 23, 2016 TUNIS — The leader of Tunisia’s main Islamic political party was re-elected on Monday, winning endorsement for his effort to move the party away from its Islamist roots and stay in tune with the country’s five-year-old democratic revolution.

The leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, a renowned Islamic thinker who spent 22 years in exile during Tunisia’s dictatorship, had tears in his eyes Monday as he embraced his rival in the party vote, which he won with 800 of the 1,058 ballots cast.

The vote, a culmination of a three-day party congress here in Tunis, was a victory for Mr. Ghannouchi, 74, and an important turning point for his party, Ennahda, as it seeks to separate the party’s religious and political activities.

‘One of the most important changes we came to was the independence of the political mission and the political party from social and cultural activities,’ Mr. Ghannouchi told reporters. ‘We were not able to achieve this cause before because of a lack of clarity.’

He said the party had matured and the country’s new Constitution — guaranteeing freedom of religion, and calling for a separation of politics from civil society — had made a change in the party’s direction possible.

‘The Ennahda millstone works slowly,’ he said in Arabic. ‘It makes the cereals smooth, very smooth, after it grinds the corn.’

Inspired by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the party was founded as the Islamic Tendency Movement in 1981, and later renamed Ennahda, or Renaissance. Thousands of its members were imprisoned or exiled under Tunisia’s authoritarian presidents, Habib Bourguiba and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.”

Read the rest here.

At the risk of repeating what we wrote last week on 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 as as reported last week, the Ennahda Party announced that they had “relinquished their ties to Political Islam.”The GMBDW would be more inclined to take Ghanouchi’s renunciation of his party’s ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood 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.

Of course none of this is mentioned by the New York Times which is not surprising given that in over 15 years of working on subject, the GMBDW has never seen a single New York Times article that reported critically on the Global Muslim Brotherhood and its leaders outside of Egypt, even to the extent of identifying their affiliation. The GMBDW has written multiple times, here, here, and here, on what we have come to describe as the epic failure of US mainstream media to properly cover this subject. Other major media outlets are not doing any better compared with the groundbreaking stories on the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe by former Wall Street Journal journalist Ian Johnson in 2005 (disclosure: the GMBDW editor assisted on those stories) and perhaps the only credible piece on the US Muslim Brotherhood ever to appear in a US newspaper by John Mintz and Douglas Farah from 2004 (disclosure: Farah is a former colleague of the GMBDW editor). Since then, and in glaring juxtaposition with the UK media, the mainstream US media appears to have completely allowed the Global Muslim Brotherhood “space” to be occupied by absurd puff pieces such as the one above. We have no idea what it would take to change this situation and frankly despair that it ever will given the reality of journalism today.

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