The Leader of the Tunisian Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood connected Ennhada party is predicting that before too long the Arab world will be dominated by Islamists, and he wants to form ‘coalitions’ with the secular movements to make that happen. But he’s definitely not interested in governing with secular groups, he just wants to use them to give Islamist the upper hand:
DAILY STAR – The leader of the Tunisian Islamist party that rose to power after the first Arab Spring uprising last year said this week that Islamist movements would eventually emerge triumphant throughout the Arab world after a difficult transition period.
Rached al-Ghannouchi, whose Ennahda party governs with two junior leftist partners, said secular groups should join forces with Islamists to manage the first phase after autocratic rulers were removed.
But in the end, Islam will be the “reference point”.
“The Arab world is going through a transition phase which needs coalitions to govern, which brings together Islamist and secular trends,” Ghannouchi said in an interview during a trip to London where he spoke at Chatham House.
“These coalitions will lead to eventual rapprochement between the Islamists and the secularists.”
However, he added Islamists would have the upper hand.
“There’s a true way that Islam represents the common ground for everyone … Eventually Islam becomes a reference point for everyone,” he said.
Ennahda is accused by liberals of sympathy with puritanical Salafis, concerns exacerbated by a video that surfaced last month in which Ghannouchi is heard discussing which parts of the state are now in Islamist hands and how Salafis should spread their influence further.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – a movement affiliated to Ennahda – is locked in conflict with secular forces who fear the new Islamist President Mohammed Mursi and his Brotherhood backers want to impose their vision on society.
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is also the strongest force in the opposition that hopes to take over in the country if President Bashar al-Assad is ousted by rebels in what has become a bloody civil war that has claimed some 40,000 lives.
The Brotherhood-linked groups, which include the Hamas group that rules the Palestinian Gaza Strip, are backed by Qatar and its influential television network Al Jazeera.
The Gulf Arab state has played a pivotal role in supporting protests and armed rebellions that have ousted rulers in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen, who all cast themselves to one degree or another as protectors of Arab secularism.
Islamist movements say they will return Arab societies to more authentic values that were distorted by colonialism and excessive Western influence.