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Video tarnishes Tunisian Islamist party

Leaked conversations mentioning alcohol bans and the imposition of religious law have raised fears that Tunisia's new government may not be as moderate as it appears, especially in the context of mob attacks on the US embassy that coincided with the killing of the American ambassador in neighbouring Libya.

world Updated: Oct 13, 2012 22:59 IST

Leaked conversations mentioning alcohol bans and the imposition of religious law have raised fears that Tunisia's new government may not be as moderate as it appears, especially in the context of mob attacks on the US embassy that coincided with the killing of the American ambassador in neighbouring Libya.

The leaks, however, may also just be attempts by the secular opposition or religious conservatives to embarrass the moderate Islamist Ennahda Party before next year's elections.

Tunisia's social media sites were flooded Wednesday by first a video, then a phone recording showing Rachid Ghannouchi, the founder of the once-banned Ennahda Party that dominated recent elections, appearing to discuss how to Islamise society and triumph over secularism.

Ennahda said in a statement the video, from February, was heavily edited to make Ghannouchi appear extreme.

"A number of sections were taken out of context and edited in such a way as to misrepresent their meaning," party official Ameur Larayedh said.