Displaying items by tag: Tunisia

The recent arbitrary arrest of Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia's Ennahda party, by President Kais Saied has brought Tunisia's political turmoil to the limelight.

The 81-year-old Ghannouchi reportedly was breaking his fast on the 27th day of Ramadan when nearly 100 policemen raided his house and took him into custody.

Later, he was ordered detained after eight hours of investigation following a trumped-up charge brought against him for incitement against state authorities.

This was a akin to imprisoning Ghannouchi, as part of a general move by President Kais Saied's ongoing crackdown on his political opponents.

Since his self-coup in July 2021 when the president dissolved the parliament in which Ghannouchi was the speaker, President Saied has dismantled every democratic institution in the country to consolidate power through a hyper-presidential system.

At the same time, he has jailed his critics that include politicians, former judges and government officials, business people, trade unionists, and journalists. Furthermore, the day after Ghannouchi's arrest, the Tunisian authorities also closed the Ennahda party headquarters.

Since the Arab Spring in 2011, Tunisia has been seen as a beacon of hope for democratic change in the MENA region. As the largest party in the Tunisian parliament and a member of the ruling coalition, the Ennahda party under the leadership of Ghannouchi has been a key player in Tunisia's post-revolutionary politics and is largely credited for the country's democratic transition.

As a moderate Islamist party with a self-styled "Muslim Democrat" branding, Ennahda's success to maintain power has been a result of its willingness to work within the democratic system, respect the rule of law, and promote pluralism and tolerance through power-sharing agreement with other political players in Tunisia.

At the same time, despite being perceived as an Islamist movement, Ennahda has been more cautious in setting up its reform agenda. Thus, Ghannouchi has repeatedly affirmed that his party priority after gaining power is not to immediately 'Islamize' the country.

Instead, its main concerns are to uphold the country's democracy and the rule of law and boost its economic growth with a focus on the wellbeing of its people which is seen in line with the objectives of the syariah (maqasid al-shari'a).

Therefore, whereby its Egyptian counterpart, the Muslim Brotherhood under Mohamed Morsi failed to maintain power and was unfortunately overthrown in a military coup, Ennahda has continued to survive and enjoyed growing support from a broad cross-section of Tunisian society helping the country's stability and progress.

However, the rise of President Saied has undone much of the democratic development in Tunisia. Since taking office in 2019, he has steadily increased his power, using the pretext of the Covid-19 pandemic to bypass parliament and take unilateral decisions.

He has undermined the independence of the judiciary, dismissed the prime minister and other senior officials, and imposed curfews and restrictions on civil society organizations and the media.

His efforts to govern without a functioning parliament and to rule by decree during the July 2021 self-coup have faced stiff opposition from Ennahda and other parties, who have accused him of authoritarianism.

Thus, the recent arrest of Ghannouchi and the broader crackdown on the opposition movement are clear examples of the president's authoritarian tactics. The repercussions of President Saied's crackdown on the Tunisian Muslim democrat could be far-reaching.

First and foremost, Tunisia has been seen as the sole successful model for democratic transition in the Arab and Muslim world and it has become evident how the proponent of the Islamist movement may peacefully partake and even flourish in this democratic endeavour.

Thus, if President Saied succeeds in crushing the opposition, it will set back all of the democratic efforts and bring

back Tunisia to the old way of authoritarianism which is so hard to turn back.

But, a more alarming backlash of this lies in the discrediting of all of the peaceful democratic efforts made by moderate Islamists such as Ennahda.

This could have a knock-on effect, leading to disillusionment among moderate Islamists and pushing them towards hard-line and extremist groups. This is a worry which could ultimately destabilize the region and undermine efforts towards peace and stability.

Hence, it is imperative that the international community speaks out against President Saied's actions and call for the immediate release of Ghannouchi and other political prisoners.

Tunisia's democratic progress must not be undone, and its people must be allowed to continue on their path towards a more open and tolerant society.

The writer is a research fellow at the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia. He can be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Monday, 27 June 2011 13:24

Kazakhstan: Leading the OIC

NazabayevIn the name of Allah, the Merciful and the Compassionate!

THE people of Kazakhstan have for ages been part of the Muslim world. Islam came to our land more than 1,000 years ago. The Lord Creator and geography have defined Kazakhstan as a unique place for advancing dialogue between the Islamic and Western civilisations. The beginning of the 21st century’s second decade turns out to be a time of great challenges for the ummah.

The global financial crisis, dependence on food import, youth unemployment and a wide range of other problems have caused unprecedented upheavals in a number of countries in North Africa and the Middle East. The shifts in the political regimes of Tunisia and Egypt. as well as the humanitarian catastrophe faced by Libya have brought about the emergence of hundreds of thousands of refugees. Problems of many Muslim states in terms of sustainable development ........Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)

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Monday, 09 May 2011 16:03

My Reaction to Osama bin Laden’s Death

chomskyWe might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.

It’s increasingly clear that the operation was a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law. There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by 80 commandos facing virtually no opposition—except, they claim, from his wife, who lunged towards them.


In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial. I stress “suspects.” In April 2002, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it “believed” that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan, though implemented in the UAE and Germany.......Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)

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Tuesday, 09 July 2013 08:00

What is happening to the Arab uprising

Arab UprisingThe Arab Uprising is no longer what it was.  Its complexion is changing.

One of the outstanding features of the first phase of the Uprising was its peaceful, non-violent character. The ouster of both the Tunisian dictator, Ben Ali, on 25 January 2011 and the Egyptian autocrat, Hosni Mubarak, on 11 February 2011 was largely peaceful. But the protesters in Libya resorted to arms within a day or two of their uprising in Benghazi on 15 February.  It is well known that one of the leading groups in what has evolved into a full-scale rebellion is a well-armed militia, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL).......Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)

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Tuesday, 05 April 2011 12:24

Crusaders Invade the Land of Omar Mukhtar

libyaIt is medieval Crusade.  This is how the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin described the American, British and French military strikes on Libya -made possible due to cruel dictator Gaddafi‘s  scorched earth policy .

On  20 March  2003 Crusaders launched their “Shock and Awe” attack on Iraq which killed around 1.4 million innocent civilians and  virtually turned this once almost developed Muslim country into  a wasteland. Eight years later today,  on 20 March 2011, this very same American, British and French Crusaders attacked Libya, perhaps to commit yet another mass slaughter........Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)

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Friday, 01 April 2011 16:45

Pakistan's ground-breaking female cabbie

bbc_zahidaZahida Kazmi has been hailed as Pakistan's first female taxi driver. She has driven from the crowded markets of Islamabad to the remote tribal country in the north. Here she tells Nosheen Abbas about her two decades in a male-dominated world.

In 1992 at the age of 33, newly widowed Zahida Kazmi decided to take her fate in her own hands and become a taxi driver.


Read the full story here ... BBC Online 12 March 2011.


Note: women taxi drivers are not uncommon here is Malaysia

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helen-thomasLOS ANGELES: Veteran United Sates reporter Helen Thomas lashed out at Israel in an interview published on Friday, standing by fiery comments which forced her to quit as doyenne of the White House press corps last year.

Speaking to Playboy, she denied she was anti-Semitic but railed against Jewish lobbies she said controlled power in America, from the White House and Congress to Hollywood and financial markets.

The combative 90-year-old also reiterated her view that Jews should stay in Europe and the US rather than move to Israel, which she said was stolen from the Palestinians.

“I’m not anti-Jewish; I’m anti-Zionist. I am anti-Israel taking what doesn’t belong to it. If you have a home and you’re kicked out of that home, you don’t come and kick someone else out.”

Thomas was forced to quit last June after saying about Israel: “Tell them to get out of Palestine,” adding: They can go home, Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else.”

Asked about those comments by Playboy, she said: “Well, that immediately evoked the concentration camps. What I meant was they should stay where they are because they’re not being persecuted – not since World War 2.

“If they were, we sure would hear about it. I want people to understand why the Palestinians are upset. They are incarcerated and living in an open prison.”

Thomas also wanted to set the record straight on her departure from the White House, announced as a retirement by Hearst Corp, where she worked as a newspaper columnist after decades at United Press International.

“I’m not retired! I was fired,” she said in the interview which was conducted in Washington where she took Playboy contributing editor David Hochman to her favourite Palestinian restaurant, the magazine said. - AFP

Published in The New Sunday Times - Sunday 20 March 2011.
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This issue of Cordoba Foundation's Occasional Paper highlights the keynote address 'Bridging the Muslim and Western World for Peace and Development' from the World Muslim Leadership Forum: Muslim World in the Face of the New World Economic Order (organised by Faith Regen Foundation and the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute) given by His Royal Highness Raja Nazrin Shah, Crown Prince of Perak, Malaysia on 7th October 2010........ Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)

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Sunday, 20 February 2011 16:01

The New Language of Revolution

Language of Revolution

Who would have thought it? Only less than two months ago, nobody, least of all me, would have dreamed that the new language of revolution would be Arabic. For so long the language of rebellion has been Spanish or Eastern European, maybe Indonesian. But Arabic? No, Arabic was the supposed language of piety. It is what you use to show that you're more religious than anyone else........ Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)

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Wednesday, 02 March 2011 09:07

Winds of Change Sweep The Arab World

middle east protest

Last December 17th Mohamed Bouaziz, the unemployed Tunisian college graduate turned street vendor, set himself ablaze with gasoline after officials in his town of Sidi Bouzid prevented him from selling vegetables without permission. He never imagined that his final desperate act would ignite astonishing uprisings across the entire Middle East, forcing Presidents Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, and then Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, to abandon their decades-long rule of ruthless repression. Blasts of fresh air are invigorating the Middle East in the most profound transformation since the fall of the Ottoman dynasty........ Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)

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