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Ghannouchi clarifies statements on France, offensive caricatures of Prophet

Tunisian Parliament Speaker Rashid Al Ghannouchi attends the 4th congress of Nahda movement student branches at Tunisia University in Tunis, Tunisia on 18 January 2020 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]
Tunisian Parliament Speaker Rashid Ghannouchi in Tunis, Tunisia on 18 January 2020 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Tunisian parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi confirmed that the statement he issued following his meeting with the French ambassador to his country related to the criminal act committed by the Tunisian man in Nice, and expressed that the suspect does not represent Tunisians.

Ghannouchi told Arabi21 that the meeting with the ambassador was protocol on the occasion of accepting his accreditation to Tunisia, stressing: "This aggressive conduct does not express the essence of Islam, which forbids violating the safety of others."

In a related context, he asserted: "People should not hesitate to condemn linking terrorism and violence with Islam and Muslims, as Islam and all religions, in general, have nothing to do with terrorism and the killing innocents."

Ghannouchi urged that the offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) can only be condemned in the strongest possible way, and cannot be justified by freedom of opinion and expression.

READ: There's a crisis of extremist ideology in Europe, not a crisis of Islam

He continued: "As president of the Ennahda Movement and speaker of parliament, I expressed this position, whether through statements or during official meetings, and stressed the need combat these hybrid behaviours that provoke Muslims and raise tension between religions and nations."

Ghannouchi indicated that he conveyed this stance on national television, insisting that the caricatures: "Have nothing to do with creativity and freedom of expression in any way."

According to Ghannouchi's official Facebook page, after receiving the new French ambassador to Tunisia, Ghannouchi confirmed that the friendship between the two countries will not be disturbed by transient and marginal events.

He added: "We expressed without hesitation our solidarity with the French state and the brotherly French people during the recent terrorist events, and we affirm that we are all fighting the same enemy, which is terrorism, and Tunisia faces this danger like the rest of the world."

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