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Rashid al-Ghannushi headshot

Rashid al-Ghannushi


This individual is not a direct affiliate of the Berkley Center.

Rashid al-Ghannushi heads the Ennahda Party in Tunisia, an Islamist movement and political party previously outlawed by presidents Habib Bourguiba and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. A Sunni Muslim, al-Ghannushi established the Islamic Tendency Movement in 1981, which aimed to end Tunisia’s one party political system and provide an Islamic political party as competition to Bourguiba’s party. Due to constitutional restrictions on religiously-based political parties and both Bourguiba and Ben Ali’s staunch opposition to Islamist activity, al-Ghannushi was jailed on multiple occasions until he fled the country in 1988. His critics consider him an Islamic radical, but he has also been hailed as a proponent of Islamic democracy and pluralism. Al-Ghannushi maintains that he represents a progressive force in Islamic thought that emphasizes social justice, equal rights for women, and political and religious pluralism. He returned to Tunisia after President Ben Ali’s overthrow in January 2011 and continues to head Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda party.