Tunisia Party Leader Is No Moderate

Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 10:02 AM

By Tawfik Hamid

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It has been difficult for many to determine if Rachid al-Ghannouchi who co-founded the En-Nahda Movement, (currently the largest party in Tunisia) is a true moderate.

On Feb. 26, 2014, al-Ghannouchi spoke at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington D.C. It was the perfect opportunity for Dr. Maha Hamid (full disclosure: my wife) got the opportunity to ask a pointed question:

"Do you agree with the views of Sayyed Qutb that encourage violent jihad to implement Shariah laws — as mentioned in his book 'Milestone'?"

The question was clear and lucid — unfortunately, Ghannouchi's answer was not. Further, he refused to give a clear answer despite Hamid insisting twice during his reply that a clear yes or no was all that was necessary.

Would a true moderate stumble in such a way? I believe a clear no "I do not agree with him" is sufficient.

Click here for the  discussion. Dr. Maha Hamid's question is at minute 28:50, and  al-Ghannouchi's answer is at 35:50.

It is fair to say that al-Ghannouchi expressed several views that are much more moderate than most political Islamic groups; however, his failure to make a clear answer about this question cast doubt if he is a true moderate.

Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam." Read more reports from Tawfik Hamid — Click Here Now.


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