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Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Interview with a founder of Tunisian Renaissance Party

From our Daily Briefing today.

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On May 11, the independent El-Khabar newspaper carried the following interview with one of the founders of the Tunisian Hizb Ennahda [Renaissance Party], Abdelfattah Mourou:

“…Q: “There were conflicting reports saying you have joined a political party other than the Islamic Hizb Ennahda. How true are they?

A: “This did not happen. Currently, I am not part of Ennahda because it has leaders who are setting the foundations for the party all over again. This is their right. I was offered a political role outside the context of Ennahda, as well as the formation of a party or to carry out independent work. So far, I have not yet decided and I will see where my interest lies and act accordingly.

Q: “What blame do you address to the new command of the Ennahda founding committee?

A: “I have no blame. This founding committee chose to act this way and this is its right. If it forgot me or excluded me, this is its right and I do not blame anyone for it.

Q: “How do you perceive political action in Tunisia?

A: “New horizons were opened and more than 50 parties were formed. The people are now preparing to choose their deputies in the constitutional council that will draw up a new constitution. This is all positive, but will this course proceed the way it was announced? Or will there be obstacles in the way, preventing the Islamists from reaching the positions that go in line with their size? This is the issue that worries me the most.

Q: “Will you found a new political party?

A: “This is not what is missing from the arena since there are numerous parties. What is missing is the presence of wise leaders who can earn the citizens’ confidence. This should be provided whether inside or outside the context of a party. We need a national command that would get the people to support figures whom they trust and who will achieve the programs.

Q: “Do you think that the Islamic movement in Tunisia will follow in the footsteps of other Islamic movements in some Arab countries at the level of separating religious action from political action?

A: “This has already taken place in Tunisia a while ago, as the separation between religious and political actions was secured. Religious action is now being carried out inside the mosques, and the current issue at hand is the action on the political arena. At this level, we refuse to be called Islamists. Do not call us Islamists. We are patriotic people working for the best interest of the country. Our main cause is the country and the ways to save it…

Q: “It is said that the true governors of Tunisia under Ben Ali’s regime were America’s and France’s men. How do you perceive the relation with these states following the revolution?

A: “There is no arguing about the fact that our country is a third-world country that knew colonialism not too long ago, and that the international powers are fighting over us and seeking to exploit what is happening to serve their own interests. The issue revolves around whether or not we will allow them and around the ways to restore some of our decision-making powers. Our weak countries should be able – through their democratic practices – to let the West feel it cannot control our fate through the appointment of leaders working to serve the interests of foreign powers… We must deal with our neighbors, and Europe is important for our development, just as we are important for its security. The people are willing to deal with neighbors based on respect, and for our part we pledge to protect our neighbors from illicit immigration and terrorism. And once our regimes are democratic, terrorism will be nipped in the bud.

Q: “To what extent can the influence of the military institution be contained following the revolution?

A: “The tradition in our country is that the military has no political ambitions. Therefore, we are certain that the military men will not seize power…””

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

May 11, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Posted in TRANSLATIONS

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