Tunisia: Isalmic Movement Calls for National Reconciliation

Hamady El-Jebaly, an influential leader of Tunisian El-Nahda Islamic Movement, asserted that his movement welcomes dialogue and blamed the government for rejecting the offer so far. He said the Islamic Movement in Tunisia does not monopolize Islam and never claimed to be its sole representative.

El-Jebaly who has served 15-year imprisonment for conspiracy charges to threaten state security was a member of El-Nahda’s Political Bureau and the director of its el-Fagr weekly which is now suspended. El-Gebaly was granted clemency along with 73 other El-nahda activists after spenfing 11 years in solitary confinement.

He considered the pardon “a positive step on the right direction” and hoped that similar moves will follow to spread a mood of optimism, confidence, and to engage in real debate on essential issues that face Tunisia. He commended Algeria which ” chose to enact general pardon instead of punitive procedures despite bloodshed resulted from the civil war that has torn the country apart.”

El-Jebaly voiced his support for the Tunisian opposition strategy which comes down to three requests: general pardon, freedom of media, and licensing the officially banned parties and associations. He stressed the importance of “initiating a dialogue among all aprties, including the regime, and to set aside dispute over secondary issues.’

El-Jebaly, moreover, criticized using force in dealing with Islamic movements, urging for “dialogue and democractic practices instead”. He said the success of Islamists in Egypt, Palestine, Morocco, and Turkey ’sparks a glimpse of hope for freedom and refutes allegations that Islamists are against democracy.’

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