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Why Tunisia’s top Islamist party rebranded itself

During its most recent congress, Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda party announced its intention to separate its political and religious work.

TUNIS, Tunisia — On May 20, the Tunisian Ennahda movement kicked off its 10th congress at the Rades Olympic Hall in a southern suburb of Tunis. About 13,000 people, among them 1,200 delegates, filled the stadium, largely considered one of the architectural achievements of the autocratic Zine El Abidine Ben Ali period (1987-2011); 2,000 more supporters waited outside.

The ambiance was that of a rock concert — crowds cheered wildly, waving Ennahda’s white flag (a few Tunisian and Palestinian flags dotted the stadium), and the party’s theme song blared from the speakers.

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