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July 11, 2013 8:51 am

Tunisian Islamist Calls for Morsi’s Return

avatar by Steven Emerson

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Protesters during the Tunisian uprising in 2011. Photo: AP.

“Moderate” is a term frequently attributed to Rashid al-Ghannouchi and his ruling Tunisian Ennahda Party. But Ghannouchi’s perception of Islamic rule does not differ much from his radical counterparts.

Ennahda is regarded as the Muslim Brotherhood party’s equivalent in Tunisia. In solidarity with his fellow Muslim Brotherhood supporters, Ghannouchi is calling for pro-Morsi demonstrators to remain in the streets and demand Morsi’s reinstatement.

As political scientist Martin Kramer points out, Ghannouchi has a long history of radical speech and anti-Semitism. Ghannouchi’s Facebook page advocated for the people to “put the train of freedom and democracy back on track.”

In 2009, he called on Palestinians to “strike terror” in the hearts of Israelis with rockets. Furthermore, in June 2001, he blessed the mothers of Palestinian suicide bombers on an al-Jazeera program:

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“I would like to send my blessings to the mothers of those youth, those men who succeeded in creating a new balance of power…I bless the mothers who planted in the blessed land of Palestine the amazing seeds of these youths, who taught the international system and the Israel [sic] arrogance, supported by the US, an important lesson. The Palestinian woman, mother of the Shahids (martyrs), is a martyr herself, and she has created a new model of woman.”

Ghannouchi is previously called for the destruction of Israel, which he predicts could “disappear” by 2027.

Millions of Egyptians took to the streets to protest Mohamed Morsi’s government for placing theocratic aims above the immediate socio-economic needs of the people. More people signed petitions calling for Morsi’s removal than voted for him a year earlier.

But Ghannouchi similarly is trying to protect long term political power for Islamists above the clearly articulated will of the masses. That is how Islamists defend democracy.

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