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Security not enough fight terrorism: Tunisia Islamist chief

22 March 2016, 22:56

Doha - The head of Tunisia's main Islamist party, Rached Ghannouchi, said on Tuesday that military force and security measures alone are not enough to fight violent extremism.

"The fight against terrorism must not be limited to the military and security approach, which could even complicate the problem in the short and long run," the 74-year-old Ghannouchi told an audience at the Al-Jazeera Forum in Doha.

Combating extremism must also have "a political dimension by strengthening democracy, the economy, and development" to stem unemployment, especially among young people, he said.

Ghannouchi said his country was tackling extremism, despite a rise in jihadist attacks since the 2011 revolution that ousted longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

"We have defeated dictatorship in Tunisia and we hope we are on our way towards defeating terrorism," he said.

Ghannouchi also rejected any link between extremism and religion, saying Islam is "unrelated to terrorism".

He was speaking before the full extent of Tuesday's attacks on the Brussels airport and metro, which together claimed more than 30 lives, was known.

Ghannouchi's Ennahda party was the dominant political force in Tunisia following the revolution but its influence has since waned.

The two-day conference in Doha organised by the pan-Arab Al-Jazeera channel is being held to discuss current political struggles in the Middle East.


Tags tunisia

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