Rached Ghannouchi

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Not to be confused with the former Tunisian prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi.
Rached Ghannouchi
راشد الغنوشي
Born June 1941 (age 75)
El Hamma, Tunisia
Alma mater Cairo University
Damascus University
Political party En-Nahda Movement
Website www.rachedelghannouchi.com

Rached Ghannouchi (Arabic: راشد الغنوشي‎‎ Rāshid al-Ghannūshī; born 1941), also spelled Rachid al-Ghannouchi or Rached el-Ghannouchi, is a Tunisian politician, co-founder of the Ennahdha Party and serving as its "intellectual leader".[1] He was born Rashad Khriji (راشد الخريجي).[2]

Ghannouchi was named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012[3] and Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers[4] and was awarded the Chatham House Prize 2012 (alongside Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki) by Prince Andrew, Duke of York, for "the successful compromises each achieved during Tunisia's democratic transition".[5][6]

Early life[edit]

Ghannouchi was born outside El Hamma, in the governorate of Gabès in southern Tunisia. He received his certificate of attainment degree, equivalent to the Baccalauréat, in 1962 from the University of Ez-Zitouna (Zaytouna). He entered the school of agriculture at Cairo University in 1964 but, following the expulsion of Tunisians from Egypt, he left for Syria. He studied philosophy at the University of Damascus, graduating in 1968.

Islamic Tendency Movement[edit]

In April 1981 Ghannouchi founded the Islamic Tendency Movement (Arabic: حركة الاتجاه الإسلامي‎‎ Ḥarakat al-Ittijāh al-Islāmī). The Movement described itself as specifically rooted in non-violent Islam, and called for a "reconstruction of economic life on a more equitable basis, the end of single-party politics and the acceptance of political pluralism and democracy."[citation needed] By the end of July, Ghannouchi and his followers were arrested, sentenced to eleven years in prison in Bizerte, and were tortured. Both the religious and secular community, including numerous secular political organizations, rallied in his support.[7] He was released in 1984, but returned to prison in 1987 with a life sentence, then was again released in 1988. He moved to Europe (the United Kingdom) as a political exile, where he lived for decades.[1]

He attended The Islamic Committee for Palestine conference in Chicago in 1989.[8] Following the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Al-Ghannushi denounced King Fahd of Saudi Arabia for the "colossal crime" of inviting the U.S. to deploy forces.[9] He also called for a Muslim boycott of American goods, planes and ships.[9]

Rachid Al-Ghannouchi speaking in an Islamist rally circa 1980.

Ghannouchi continued to criticise Tunisian politics and the regime of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.[10] Following popular unrest in which Ben Ali was ousted, Ghannouchi returned to Tunisia on 30 January 2011, after spending twenty two years exiled in London .[11]

BBC apology in 2013[edit]

On 17 May 2013, the BBC published an apology on their website for previously publishing inaccurate statements about Ghannouchi six months earlier on 21 November 2012.[12] The article had accused Ghannouchi of threatening to order troops on to the streets if the Ennahdha Party did not get the results he expected in the elections in 2011, and suggested he condoned the violent Salafist attack on the United States embassy and the burning of the American School in Tunis in September 2012.[12] Acknowledging that none of these accusations and suggestions were in fact true, the retraction concluded: "The BBC apologises to Mr Ghannouchi for these mistakes and for the distress they caused him."[12] Tunisia's Ennahdha distances itself from political Islam.

Recently the Party leader Rached Ghannouchi called for more democratic embrace after being labelled "moderate Islamists" for 30 years


Chatham House prize in 2012, Ghannushi and Marzouki.


  1. ^ a b Feldman, Noah (2011-10-30). "Islamists' Victory in Tunisia a Win for Democracy: Noah Feldman". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  2. ^ Turess Press. "إلى الأستاذ راشد الخريجي (حركة النهضة)". Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Time Magazine (18 April 2012). "TIME 100: The List". Time Magazine. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Foreign Policy. "The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers 2011". 
  5. ^ Chatham House. "Chatham House Prize 2012". 
  6. ^ Ghannouchi, Rached. "Transcript of speech at Chatham House Prize 2012 awards ceremony, 26 November 2012" (PDF). 
  7. ^ Linda G. Jones, "Portrait of Rashid Al-Ghannoushi" Middle East Report, No. 153 (July–August 1988).
  8. ^ "Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine" (PDF). 
  9. ^ a b "A U.S. Visa for Rachid Ghannouchi?". 
  10. ^ Kirkpatrick, David D.; Fahim, Kareem (18 January 2011). "More Officials Quit in Tunisia Amid Protests". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  11. ^ راشد الغنوشي زعيم حركة النهضة يعود إلى تونس اليوم بعد 20 عاما في المنفى (in Arabic). Asharq Al-Awsat. 30 January 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c "Apology to Rached Ghannouchi". BBC.co.uk. 17 May 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "Tunisia's Ghannushi is member of AMU students' union". The Times of India. Retrieved 2016-05-12. 
  14. ^ "'Tunisia proof that democracy can sustain in Arab world'". 2015-04-08. Retrieved 2016-05-12. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Tamimi, Azzam (2001). Rachid Ghannouchi: a democrat within Islamism. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-514000-1. 
  • Saeed, Abdullah (1999). "Rethinking citizenship rights of non-Muslims in an Islamic State; Rashid al-Gannushi's contribution to the evolving debate". Islam and Christian Muslim Relations. 10 (3): 307–323 [p. 311]. 
  • alhiwar.net 6.5.2007
  • Jones, Linda G. (1988). "Portrait of Rashid al-Ghannoushi". Islam and the State. Middle East Report. 153. New York: Middle East Research and Information Project. pp. 19–22. 
  • al-Ghannoushi, Rashid & Jones, Linda G. (1988). "Deficiencies in the Islamic Movement". Islam and the State. Middle East Report. 153. New York: Middle East Research and Information Project. pp. 23–24. 

External links[edit]