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Tunisian Islamist Chief Says Democracy Best Defense against ISIS

Rached Ghannouchi

The head of the moderate but powerful Islamist Ennahda Movement in Tunisia, Rached Ghannouchi, has told AFP in an interview that his country’s transition to democracy should serve as an example of how to defeat Muslim extremists like ISIS.

“The success of the Tunisian experience is in the international interest, especially in the fight against extremism and the fight against Islamic State and similar groups, ” Ghannouchi said, on the eve of Sunday’s first parliamentary election in Tunisia since the 2011 revolution.

“The Tunisian model is the alternative to the Daesh (ISIS) model … This Tunisian model … brings together Islam and secularism, Islam and democracy, Islam and freedom for women, ” Ghannouchi explained, adding, “One of the best ways to fight terrorism is to advocate moderate Islam because terrorism is based on an extremist interpretation of Islam.”

Ghannouchi’s party is currently the leading political power in Tunisia, following the ousting of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Tunisians from all across the political spectrum are saying they hope the vote Sunday will be a highlight of a sometimes troubled transition, AFP noted.

Tunisia has been struggling with a weak economy, Islamist violence, and attacks on civilians by terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda.

A member of the security forces was killed Thursday in a firefight with armed terrorists in the town of Oued Ellil, near the capital, AFP reported.

Last year two leftist politicians were murdered, probably by Islaimist terrorists, plunging the country into a political crisis. It is expected that an orderly vote on Sunday will contribute to the country’s stability.

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