Soumaya Ghannoushi used to be a staple at the Guardian, beating the drum incessantly for political Islam and above all for her father, Rached Ghannouchi’s Ennahdha, an Islamist party inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood. Ennahdha was part of the troika government from 2011 to 2014 and Rached Ghannoushi is an ex-speaker of the Parliament, his highest political post. The Guardian may have fallen out of love with other Islamists, Erdogan who won the second run-off in Turkey a few days ago comes to mind as a great love story gone sour but it has faithfully kept the door open for Ms Ghannoushi. She is back lamenting and lambasting western indifference over what is happening in Tunisia.
Rached Ghannouchi has been arrested and charged with conspiracy against the state and to be clear, the current regime in Tunis is as unsavoury as any other MENA despot who rules by decree, so concern for incarcerated political opponents is not misplaced. What I have issue with the ever present hypocrisy and soft lies. Kais Saied, retired law professor(!), has done no more than Erdogan to stifle democracy and persecute political opponents. Ennahdha and the AKP suck at the same islamist (MB) teats but for a western audience, the Tunisian islamists are presented as democrats and moderates and therefore natural partners of The Left and Saied as the Far Right™ devil. Saied is accused using both “pro-revolutionary and ultra-conservative rhetoric” to hoodwink the unwary. The Ghannouchis are guilty of doing exactly that. Edward said urged Christopher Hitchens to visit Tunisia thus : “You should go there, Christopher. It’s the gentlest country in Africa. Even the Islamists are highly civilized.” Well not quite.
During my stay, I visited the University of Tunis, attached to the “Zitouna” or “olive tree” mosque, to talk to a female professor of theology named Mongia Souahi. She is the author of a serious scholarly work explaining why the veil has no authority in the Quran. One response had come from an exiled Tunisian Islamist named Rachid al-Ghannouchi, who declared her to be a kuffar, or unbeliever. This, as everybody knows, is the prelude to declaring her life to be forfeit as an apostate. I was slightly alarmed to see Ghannouchi and his organization, Hizb al-Nahda, described in Sunday’s New York Times as “progressive,” and to learn that he is on his way home from London.
The Islamists are never quite the tame pussycats western leftists fondly imagine them to be and they would be surprised to learn that Tunisia provided the most ISIS recruits. The comments under Ms Ghannoushi’s article are surprising though. The most upvoted one bristled:
Europe has not looked the other way. Tunisians received a Nobel Prize for their Spring. Westerners cannot force democracy upon Muslim countries. When they do, as they did in Iraq, they are called imperialists. If Arabs don’t care about democracy themselves, blame their apathy. Stop blaming the West for everything that is wrong with Arabs countries. We did not reinstate the Syrian dictator last week.
Hitchens however will turn in his grave to see how the modern left in the US has married critical race theory to islamist rhetoric. From Memri:
On May 12, 2023, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) activist Fatima Mousa Mohammed delivered a commencement speech at CUNY School of Law. In her speech, she said that American law is a “manifestation of white supremacy” and that she chose CUNY School of Law because it equips its students with the tools to protect “organizers” that are working to “confront the systems of oppression that wreak violence on them, systems of oppression, created to feed an empire with a ravenous appetite for destruction and violence.” She celebrated the fact that the school endorsed BDS and enabled its students to fight “Israeli settler colonialism.” She also said that Israel “continues to indiscriminately rain bullets and bombs on worshippers, murdering the old, the young, attacking even funerals and graveyards, as it encourages lynch mobs to target Palestinian homes and businesses.” In addition, Mohammed also referred to the Holyland Five, five U.S. citizens affiliated with the Holyland Foundation who are imprisoned for having funneled millions of dollars to Hamas, as “political prisoners.” She wished that the joy and rage that fills the auditorium will be “the fuel for the fight against capitalism, racism, imperialism, and Zionism around the world.” Mohammed concluded: “No longer are we going to capitulate to the oppressors, no longer are we going to put our hope in their depraved consciousness… Greater empires of destruction have fallen before, and so will these.”
At a rally in NYC in March 2022, Mohammed had urged the crowd to demand that “Zionist” professors be banned from college campuses and that “Zionist” students not be allowed in the same “spaces” as Palestinians. Mohammed also said that Zionism is a “genocidal threat to us.” For more information, see MEMRI TV Clip No. 9471. According to the Twitter account of the SJP chapter at CUNY School of Law, the commencement ceremony was streamed live on the school’s YouTube account, but was removed several hours later and was reposted on May 25, 2023.
The video can also be viewed here.
Ms Mohammed, born in Yemen and raised in Queens, received a rousing round of applause.Doesn’t she have the same coy beauty of Ms Ghannoushi?