Tunisia: Don’t Be Fooled, Returning Islamist Rachid Ghannouchi Is Not a Moderate
“Zionism is both alien and illegitimate in origin: it is a hegemonist and nationalist project rooted and nourished on the traditional European impulse towards expansion and domination. The founding fathers of the Zionist adventure were not in any way believers in Judaism, not even in its distorted, rabbinical form: they were in essence pragmatists who exploited the Jewish heritage as a means to achieve their nationalistic goals. All this, moreover, was done within the broader context of Western strategic hopes for the destabilizing and enfeebling of the Islamic world.”
The above quotation is not from Osama bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, or Hassan Nasrallah. It is penned from the works of Rachid Ghannouchi, the world’s favorite “moderate” Islamist Tunisian leader who has recently announced his intention to return home following a two-decade exile in London. The interim post-Ben Ali Tunisian government has annulled his life sentences, promised to release all political prisoners, and has legalized the formerly banned and repressed Islamist party, Al-Nahda, which Ghannouchi heads. Ghannouchi, once-called a “democrat” by Harvard Law Professor and Islamic studies expert Noah Feldman, a “progressive” by the New York Times, and a moderate by countless other analysts, has vowed to reenter the Tunisian scene in force and will be the greatest wild card in the political scene for the months to come. By pledging to participate in the political process and pontificating on his democratic bona fides, Ghannouchi has encouraged the West’s view of him as a repressed democrat. However, he is far from the liberal pluralist others claim he is. Don’t believe my words on the subject, just read his.