Rachid Ghannouchi is a longtime Islamist who was actually banned from the U.S. during the nineties — when he was invited here by Sami al-Arian, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative who has since been convicted on a terrorism charge. Consistent with the Brotherhood’s wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing marketing makeover, which is a perfect strategy for winning over Westerners desperate to be convinced, he and Ennahda are putting on their moderate airs. They purport to have committed to refrain from implanting sharia, to protect women’s rights, etc.
But Islamists have trouble maintaining this charade, especially when they think credulous English ears are not listening. As the Investigative Project on Terrorism reports in its story about tonight’s festivities, only a few months ago, in an interview with an Arab-language website, Ghannouchi called for the destruction of Israel and expressed optimism that the Jewish state would soon disappear:
No wonder MPAC describes Ghannouchi as “one of the most important figures in modern Islamic political thought and theory.” MPAC, by the way, brags that President Obama personally calls its Washington office to thank the organization for its important work. By contrast, the White House sometimes seems less than proud of the relationship — inviting MPAC’s Washington director to its annual Iftar dinner but omitting his appearance from the published list of guests. But then again, the Obama/Holder Justice Department did rush to purge FBI training materials of information about Islamist ideology when Marayati took to the pages of the LA Times to complain.
Good to know who’s calling the tune in Washington these days. Happy Arab Spring!