Rashid Ghannouchi, president of Tunisia's main Islamic opposition movement, accused Tunisia's ousted president Zane El Abidine Ben Ali of intimidating the West from the possibility that Islamists come to power.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera's Faisal Al-Qasem on Saturday evening, Ghannouchi said that the movement for many years before Ben Ali forced him to live in exile in London, announcing its willingness to establish a democratic state and take part in forming a coalition government.
Ghannouchi said: "We want to establish a society that accepts pluralism, without being under the tutelage of third parties. We want the peaceful transfer of power, and respect for freedom of thought and the press," he added: "Islam is keen to stress on respect for human rights," and said, "Islam says let there be no compulsion in religion so, there is no compulsion in politics or anything else."
Ghannouchi likened the Tunisian people's uprising as reflecting the people's deep values, their ambition, and noble human culture calling for young men and women to preserve the gains of the uprising (intifada)..
Ghannouchi also called for the military to take care in collaboration with the youth of the Intifada to safely maintain state institutions from trouble-makers in order to put Tunisia on the proper path of democracy and freedom.
Ghannouchi called for the dissolution of the Tunisian parliament which was serving the tyrant Ben Ali's interests, saying: "Democracy can't flow into a dictatorship and we can not breathe life into a dead body." He added: "I will return to Tunisia as soon as possible."
Abdel Bari Atwan also added: "Muzzling the voices of opponents, and closing and confiscating newspapers and TV channels will not serve tyrants," in reference to the repression exercised by former president Ben Ali who was overthrown by a popular uprising.