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Saudi Arabia denies including Tunisia’s Ghannouchi on ‘terrorist list’

November 25, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Rachid Ghannouchi (C) during an Ennahda party conference [Magharebia/Flickr]

The Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tunis has denied reports that the President of Tunisia’s Ennahda Movement has been included in a new “terrorist list” announced by the four countries besieging Qatar, of which the Kingdom is one. The embassy condemned the publication of such “false news” without having it verified first.

BBC Arabic television apologised for reporting the inclusion of Ghannouchi on the list, which includes two organisations and 11 individuals who have received support from Qatar. High-level sources in Ennahda revealed that Shaikh Rached Ghannouchi is considering legal action against a number of media outlets which published the claim that he is on the list. The movement is part of the government in Tunisia.

“Contrary to what some media are discussing,” explained Ennahda in a press statement, “the president of Ennahda Movement, Rached Ghannouchi, has nothing to do with the recent terrorist list issued by some countries.” The mention of Ghannouchi’s name in this regard is a desperate attempt to defame his ideas and his long struggle for freedom and democracy, as well as resistance to tyranny, extremism and terrorism, the movement said. “Ennahda reserves the right to sue the parties that promote such libellous claims.”

Read: Ghannouchi calls on Tunisians to use dialogue to solve problems

Furthermore, Ennahda expressed surprise at the inclusion of the International Union of Muslim Scholars in the latest terrorist list. Such groups, it insisted, are neutral and known for their honesty, tolerance and attachment to the spirit of diligence required when involved in disputes and conflicts.

The International Union of Muslim Scholars and the International Islamic Council for Da’wah and Relief were the two organisations included by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain on their “terrorist list”. The individuals named included Mohamed Jamal Heshmat, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Shura (Consultative) Council and former foreign affairs commissioner in the Egyptian House of Representatives.

On 5 June this year, these four states announced that they had severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and closed their air and sea ports to Qatari traffic. They imposed a blockade on Doha and accused it of “supporting terrorism”. Qatar continues to deny all such allegations.