Islamist leader in Tunisia urges Egyptian Brotherhood to join forces with liberals

News article, posted 12.08.2011, from Tunisia, in:
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Islamist leader in Tunisia urges Egyptian Brotherhood to join forces with liberals (Photo: Al-Masry Al-Youm)

Rashid al-Ghannouchi, president of the Tunisian Ennahda Party, which gained the majority of votes in recent parliamentary elections and formed the new government, has urged the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to form a coalition with the liberals and Coptic Christians.

Ghannuchi told Foreign Policy magazine on Wednesday that the situation in Egypt is more complicated than that in Tunisia, due to the presence of a religious minority in the former.

He also warned of repeating the mistakes that the Islamists made in Algeria. “They ignored the influential secularists and the army after they swept 80 percent of the seats,” he said.

He added that Islam in Tunisia is moderate. “Applying the Islamic Sharia is not a priority now,” he said. “We want to make sure there will be no more dictatorship.”

Ghannouchi also said the new constitution would not contain any articles condemning Israel or punishing Muslims who convert to other religions.