Radwan Masmoudi, the founder and President of the Washington, DC-based Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), has announced he had left the group to officially join the political office of Tunisia’s Muslim Brotherhood party Ennahda. According to his Facebook post:
March 30, 2021 After 10 years of working in civil society as head of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy in Tunisia, I decided to take part in the coming years of party and political work, as a member of the political office of Nahda Movement. As required by Tunisian law, I will soon abandon the chairmanship of the Center, after a transitional period of about a month to search for a new head of the Center and hand over duties to him or her. [Translated using Google.]
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Masmoudi, an American citizen, has long been active in Tunisia through the CSID’s local chapter by organizing counter-extremism training and through partnerships with several Tunisian regional governors to implement CSID projects. In 2012, the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch (GMBDW) reported that Masmoudi had been considered for the post of Tunisian ambassador to the US, a bid that ultimately was unsuccessful. In the report discussed in that post, Masmoudi acknowledged for the first time that he had been a part of the Ennahda movement since the 1980s. The Ennahda Party is essentially the Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia.
The CSID is a little-known organization founded by Masmoudi in 1998 in what appears to have been a cooperative effort among the US Muslim Brotherhood, the US State Department, and US academics. Its past leaders have included Georgetown University professor Dr. John Esposito, who has numerous past and present affiliations with Global Muslim Brotherhood (GMB) and Hamas organizations and who, during the 1990s, served as a US State Department Foreign Affairs Analyst. Other CSID board members have included Jamal Barzinji and Taha Al-Alwani, both deceased, who were important leaders in the US Muslim Brotherhood who helped to establish many of the most important US Brotherhood organizations. Antony Sullivan, the current CSID Vice-Chair, has also had many ties to US Brotherhood groups.
From its inception, CSID has argued that the US government should support Islamist movements in foreign countries, has taken positions largely consistent with those of the GMB, and has enjoyed frequent and deep ties with other US Muslim Brotherhood groups. CSID has received financial support from the US State Department, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the United States Institute of Peace, and unpublished research suggests that the organization was involved in covert US funding of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.
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