Tunisia: Gannouchi, Ennhadha out of political Islam

Leader announces turning point - democratic, civil movement

19 May, 13:41

    Leader of the Tunisian Ennahda party, Rachid Ghannouchi Leader of the Tunisian Ennahda party, Rachid Ghannouchi

    TUNIS - Islamic party Ennahda is going through a turning point: its elderly leader Rached Ghannouchi has announced the separation of religious preaching from political activities, a decision that will become official at the party's 10th congress opening Friday in Rades.

    In an interview to French newspaper Le Monde, Ghannouchi said that after the ''Jasmin revolution'' in 2011 and the adoption of the new Constitution in 2014, ''there is no reason'' for a party in Tunisia to refer to the term ''political Islam''. That is why, from now on, Ennhadha will need to be defined as a democratic and civil movement, whose values are ''Islamic and modern civilization''.

    Ghannouchi has also announced the intention of extending a ban on political activity in mosques and for imams to become party members.

    This is a turning point from the past due to two factors, explained the leader of Ennahdha: the success of the democratic process in Tunisia and the need to distance itself as much as possible from the extremist violence of terror organizations like Al-Qaida and the Islamic State, that changed the concept of political Islam.

    The time has now come for ''Muslim democracy'', said Ghannouchi.

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