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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tunisia's Rachid Ghannouchi is not a 'moderate'

Rachid Ghannouchi, the head of Tunisia's Ennahda party, spent Tuesday on Capitol Hill as a guest of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). Both Ghannouchi and his party are being promoted as 'moderate' Muslims. Sadly, they are not moderates.
Though hailed as a pro-democratic and moderate party by several media outlets and political figures, Ennahda, and its leader, have provided ample evidence to the contrary.

In a May interview with the Al Arab Qatari website, for example, Ghannouchi called for the destruction of Israel and expressed optimism that the Jewish state would disappear in the very near future.

The Arab Spring "will achieve positive results on the path to the Palestinian cause and threaten the extinction of Israel," Ghannouchi said. "I give you the good news that the Arab region will get rid of the bacillus of Israel. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the leader of Hamas, said that Israel will disappear by the year 2027. I say that this date may be too far away, and Israel may disappear before this."

Ghannouchi has also blessed the mothers of Palestinian suicide bombers, defended rocket attacks carried out by Hamas against Israeli civilians and "martyrdom operations," and called for Muslims to fund and provide logistical support for Hamas.

Similar sentiments prompted the U.S. State Department to deny Ghannouchi a visa in 1994, when he was invited to speak to audiences in America, including a forum in Tampa organized by a think-tank run by Sami Al-Arian, who was a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's governing board. The State Department did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

MPAC's promotion of the event lauded Ghannouchi as "One of the most important figures in modern Islamic political thought and theory."
So long as the Obama administration is in power and the radical Hillary Clinton is Secretary of State, the likes of Ghannouchi will continue to have a voice and a place in Washington. It's time for a change.

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