Tunisia: Essebsi dead, Islamists’ hatred emerges


By Souad Sbai

Gifts and words of condolence from all over the world because of Beji Caid Essebsi’s death, the president of Tunisia who died on July 25th. But not from the Muslim Brotherhood, from where rivers of hatred arrive, curses against his followers and condemnations of his secular political model. The hypocrisy of the posthumous tribute made by Erdogan, by Turkey, and by the Tunisian Islamist leaders.

Heads of State and Government expressed great esteem and appreciation for the dead president, wishing Tunisia to continue along the path of constitutional democracy and human and civil rights that Essebsi traced.

But on the other hand, democracy and rights remain the number one enemy of the Muslim Brotherhood and defend them only in an instrumental way to enter internal processes in countries such as Egypt, Libya, Algeria and Tunisia in order to seize power through voting and establish fundamentalist dictatorships. Therefore, the curses launched against Essebsi on the Internet by transnational Islamist militantism headed, directly or indirectly, by the Muslim Brotherhood are unsettling but not surprising. Indirectly, because the well-known Algerian extremist, Abdelfattah Hamadache, is not usually connected by the media to the Muslim Brotherhood, although he shares their vision and political aspirations. Probably strengthened by the appointment of the Muslim Brother, Slimane Chenine, as President of the Parliament, Hamadache said he was against celebrating Essebsi’s burial in an Islamic cemetery, considering it “illicit.” The sin committed by the Tunisian president was to have asserted the reasons of the civil State against the theocratic founded on the sharia. Just enough to be labeled “enemies of Islam,” reported Asia News.

Directly leading to the Muslim Brotherhood, on the other hand, is the infamous Wagdy Ghoneim, who took refuge in Erdogan’s Court in Turkey, fleeing from Al Sisi’s Egypt, like many members of the Brotherhood that belonged to Mohamed Morsi. Ghoneim, convicted in absentia by an Egyptian court for inciting the murder of Coptic Christians and security forces, has defined Essebsi as “an apostate” who fought against Islam and prayed against him and his followers. Ghoneim’s message was so full of hatred that even his Facebook page refused to publish it in completely before disappearing entirely.

If these are the true feelings of the Muslim Brotherhood, the condolences sent by Erdogan, who in his message did not forget to invoke divine piety for the Tunisian president, sound like hypocrisy. In addition, these days Erdogan is in the middle of the Internet network due to the scandal related to the content of the textbooks introduced by his fundamentalist party in public schools throughout Turkey. Books that justify the 9/11 attacks and which attack the European Union as an anti-Islamic Christian club. So much hatred still generates uneasiness, but it does not surprise anyone, since this has always been the real thought of the Muslim Brotherhood, made explicit only by characters like Erdogan and Ghoneim. But this continues to be insufficient for the West to fully recognize the evil embodied in the Brotherhood and to fight it accordingly.

No less hypocritical than those pronounced by Erdogan, were the words reserved for Essebsi by Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of Ennahda, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia. Maybe they are even more hypocritical. In fact, Ghannouchi remember Essebsi as a man “rich in wisdom,” while he continues to act to take advantage of the political vacuum left by Essebi, in view of the imminent parliamentary and presidential elections. No one in Tunisia must have believed in Ghannouchi’s sincerity, especially because the ties between Ennahda and Ghaneim are re-emerging in the Arab press. In 2012, he was invited by the then non-elected president, Moncef Marzouki, a Muslim Brother, to deliver a sermon at a mosque in the capital and was received with honors at the presidential palace. While the party has never issued statements either to deny its continued extremist outsourcing or to distance itself from them.

After the serious comments published after Essebsi’s disappearance, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed issued an ordinance prohibiting Ghoneim from entering the country. A measure welcomed by the Tunisians, who on social networks responded to the hatred transmitted by his publication on Facebook. Numerous electronic attacks arrived from Tunisia that caused the page to close.

But not all hatred comes to harm. Chahed, in stark contrast to Essebsi after his departure from Nidaa Tounes and the creation of Tahya Tounes, seems to have Ennahda’s support to win the presidential elections or to be re-elected as Prime Minister. Is he sure he wants to confirm the agreement with Ghannouchi, thus becoming an instrument of Ennahda’s fundamentalist agenda? The decision to expel Ghoneim from Tunisia is a sign of hope for a re-consolidation of the secular and moderate front, so that Essebsi’s legacy will not be disperse nor at the mercy of the Muslim Brotherhood.



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