Watch the video of the lecture (arabic) here.
The transcript below is provided by: http://www.blog.sami-aldeeb.com/2012/03/09/full-transcript-of-rached-ghannouchis-lecture-on-secularism-march-2-2012/
Ladies and Gentlemen
Mr. Rached Ghanouchi, President of the Nahdha Party in Tunisia, gave an important and historic lecture at CSID-Tunisia last Friday, March 2nd, on « Secularism and Relation between Religion and the State from the Perspective of the Nahdha Party », which was then followed by a frank and open debate with leading scholars, activists, civil society leaders, and politicians from accross the full spectrum, as well as representatives of the Moroccan, Algerian, Egyptian, and American diplomatic missions.
The audience also included the Head of the Constituent Assembly Mustapha Ben Ja’afar, President of ALESCO Muhammad Al-’Aziz Ibn ‘Ashour, the Head of the Higher Committee for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in Tunisia Noureddine Hachad, as well as the leaders of various political Parties such as Muhammad Goumani, Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Hani, Murad Ruissi, Muhammad Busairi Bouabdelli, and Khaled Traouli.
We are pleased to send you the full transcript of the lecture which we hope you will find helpful (See below).
Ghannouchi @ CSID
Dr Radwan Masmoudi’s introduction:
In the Name of God the Most Merciful, the Most Beneficent
Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests
We welcome all of you in the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, we thank you for coming to this symposium and for accepting our invitation to participate in this meeting, through which we aspire to deepen the dialogue and strengthen the National Accord for the success of the democratic transition in Tunisia. As you know, Tunisia is now in front of a historical test which will determine not only the fate of our country but perhaps even that of the region and the Arab World as a whole in the coming period. All eyes are fixed on Tunisia, I just came back from a tour that brought me to Jordan, Egypt and Algeria, and believe me when I say that all sights, laden with great expectations, are directed towards Tunisia. Since it was in Tunisia that the Arab Spring was kick-started to reclaim freedom and dignity, Tunisia has made great strides in this direction over its neighbors and other Arab countries. Everyone expects a lot of us and wonders whether Tunisia will succeed in building a genuine democracy that combines dignity, human rights, justice, and Arabo-Islamic values.
The subject of the relationship between religion and state is one of the most difficult and important issues facing us now at a time when we’re establishing a new constitution and governing system, which we hope will be a democratic system that respects human rights. So, we are delighted to be hosting Professor Rached Ghannouchi, leader of al-Nahdha who in fact is in no need of introduction. But just as a reminder, he is one of the Islamic Tendency Movement’s founders, which became known as al-Nahdha Movement and later al-Nahdha Party after the revolution, and has been the leader of the party ever since and one of the movement’s thinkers and theoreticians. He is also one of the leading thinkers of the Islamist movement both in the Arab and Islamic worlds as a whole. He has written extensively and in depth on such subjects as freedom, democracy, human rights and the relationship of these with Islam.
We are very pleased to host this symposium which we hope will be a dialogue. We could have held this event in a venue of more breadth, but saw fit to keep it small in order for it to be genuinely deep. From our perspective, had we held this meeting in a bigger venue the quality of the debate would have undoubtedly been negatively affected. It is exactly for this purpose that we invited the finest thinkers of various currents, trends, and parties to engage in a real and deep dialogue, to study the subject at hand, and come up with appropriate solutions to it once we have listened to Prof Ghannouchi’s presentation.
Ghannouchi, once again, has militated for democracy and freedom and taken a fierce stand against tyranny which made him pay dearly for his convictions. He was sentenced to death, and thank God, here he is now in his country respected and loved, while he who sentenced him is living in exile. These are some of Ghannouchi’s works:
Our Way to Civilization, Us and the West, the Right to Differ and the Duty of Unity, the Palestinian Issue at a Cross Road, Woman Between the Qur’an and the Reality of Muslims, From the Islamic Thought in Tunisia, Public Freedoms in the Islamic State, Predestination in Ibn Taymiyya’s Thought, Contemplations on secularism and Civil Society, the Islamist movements and points of change, From the Experience of the Islamist Movement in Tunisia, and A Rebellion on Silence.
I will suffice myself with this short introduction, and ask you to join me in welcoming Prof Rached Ghannouchi. Welcome!
Transcription of Rached Ghannouchi’s speech:
In the name of God, prayers and peace be upon His Messenger, his household, companions, and supporters.
Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters may God’s peace and blessings be upon you.
I thank the Centre for the Study of Islam and Democracy for giving me the opportunity this evening to speak to this distinguished elite of Tunisian men and women and those coming from abroad. I am not here to teach you anything, since the subject we are here to discuss has no set instructions to be delivered but rather only points of view to be deepened and efforts to reach a common ground that would enable our elite to reach a consensus or at least a quasi-consensus.
Our topic is quite problematic in the sense that it deals with the Islam’s relationship to secularism. Is this relationship one of conflict and disaccord or one of harmony and overlap? Related to this question are issues such as Islam’s relationship to governance, the relation between Islam and Law, which are all contentious matters. Continue reading