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Transformation of the Ennahda Movement from Islamic Jama’ah to Political Party

The Ennahda Movement, whose foundations were laid in Tunisia at the beginning of the 1970s by Rached Ghannouchi and his friends, has continued its existence as an Islamic movement for many years, and has acquired the identity of a political party. This article analyzes the transformation of the Ennahda Movement –the role model of political transformations for Islamic movements in the Arab world post Arab Spring– from a religious movement to a political party. The article also addresses issues such as the role of the Ennahda Party in the democratization process started in Tunisia after the Arab Spring, its contributions to the new constitution, and its influence in the governments in which it has participated.

Transformation of the Ennahda Movement from Islamic Jama ah to
The Ennahda Movement leader, Rashid al-Ghannouchi, was awarded for promoting Ghandian values outside India with the International Jamnalal Bajaj Peace Prize, in Mumbai, India, November 7, 2016. AA PHOTO / YASSINE GAIDI

Historical Background of the Ennahda Party 

Many intellectuals and activists made theoretical and practical contributions to the process in which the fundamental building blocks for the Ennahda Movement were laid by individuals such as Rached Ghannouchi, Abdelfattah Mourou, Hamida al-Naifar, Salah al-Din Jourchi, and Abdulmajid al-Najjar. The Ennahda Movement, which was affected by the methods of Islamic movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood but avoided slavish imitation, went through many stages until it acquired an idiosyncratic structure. Without a shadow of a doubt, the prominent leader at all stages has been Rached Ghannouchi.

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