Sunday, 9 August 2009
Who is Tariq Ramadan?
Tariq Ramadan is an Islamic intellectual and activist. Of Egyptian origin, he is the grandson of Hassan al Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood could fairly be called the progenitor of virtually all modern jihadi movements. The Ramadan family was forced to flee Egypt in the wake of the government crackdown on Islamic extremists which followed an attempted assassination of Nasser.
Tariq Ramadan now resides in Switzerland and holds teaching positions in Switzerland and Britain. His intellectual credentials have been called into question, however. At the University of Geneva, his doctoral thesis was essentially an apologia for his grandfather. He was denied the customary congratulations of the awarding panel and his thesis supervisor later called him a “pseudo-intellectual” and a “vain opportunist”.
Fluent in multiple languages, Ramadan appears frequently on television and print in Europe, discussing Islamic issues. He is an official adviser to the EU and to the British government on religious questions. He also markets tapes of his own talks on religious issues. These sell well among Muslim communities in Europe.
Tariq Ramadan verbally assaulted two French police officers at Paris Roissy Charles De Gaulle airport in 2007. He admitted the offence and was fined 2,500 euros.
Ramadan likes to pose as the rational face of Islamism. But he has been dogged by accusations that he offers two separate discourses, one for the unIslamic westerners, and one for the "brothers." French journalist, Caroline Fourest, wrote an expose of Tariq Ramadan in book form called "Frère Tariq" or "Brother Tariq" as it was in the English translation, which was also published as a book. Much of the book focuses on an analysis of statements Tariq Ramadan has made in the various tapes he has sold. Extracts from the book (in French) can be read here for free on the website of the French news magazine L'Express.
Quoting from his tapes, Caroline Fourest notes the following about Tariq Ramadan :
He believes that unmarried men and women should not be alone in the same room together.
He believes that unmarried men and women should not shake hands. He says : «Essayez de l'éviter, mais, quand on vous tend la main, vous donnez la main.» ["Try and avoid it, but if someone extends their hand to you, extend your hand."]
He is opposed to swimming pools in which males and females mix. He counsels even Muslim men against going to mixed swimming pools. "Mais qu'est-ce que tu regardes à la piscine: tu peux pas y aller parce que ton regard est posé sur des choses que tu ne dois pas voir!" [But what are you looking at in the swimming pool: you cannot go there because you will see things you ought not to see!"]
Ramadan encourages Muslims to pay close attention to the education of their children, to “promouvoir les structures intégrant le cursus officiel et l'éducation islamique, qu'elle soit déclarée ou non” [“promote structures integrating the official programme and Islamic education, whether declared or not”]. He also sternly warns young Muslim girls that they should not participate in gym activities that result in any part of their bodies being exposed to the gaze of others.
The overall impression one gets from reading transcripts of Tariq Ramadan’s tapes is that, collectively, they form a kind of manual for what can only be described as “entryism” : a conscious attempt to infiltrate a foreign body and reshape it from within. In this case, the foreign body is Europe. There is not a word about how Muslim immigrants to Europe ought to respect the cultures of the countries which gave them shelter and a livelihood. There is not a word about integration with the indigenous communities, except advice on how to avoid it. Ramadan’s action plan is every bit as calculated, as vicious and as purposeful as any of the entryist projects we saw launched by communists during the Cold War. As he remarked in an interview with the New Statesman : “The duty for Muslims now is to take Islam from the periphery of European culture to the centre.”
Before seeing these transcripts, I was inclined to view all talk of a conscious attempt to Islamicise Europe as nothing but a wild, neo-conservative fantasy. Having read them, however, I don’t see what other conclusion can be reached. Ramadan is adept at using the benign-sounding buzzwords Western politicians specialise in, but there is no doubt that his real agenda is the Islamification of Europe, and that he represents a far greater threat to our civilisation than any of the Bin Ladens or Al-Zawahiris who have been dangled in front of us as bogeymen in recent years. It is incredible that such a dangerous extremist, whose conscious goal is to corrupt European culture, is a paid adviser to the British government and the European Commission and has his salary paid by European taxpayers.
Tariq Ramadan and Stoning
Tariq Ramadan’s brother, Hana Ramadan, who was the director of the Islamic Centre of Geneva, published an article called “Uncompromising Sharia” in Le Monde. In this he defended the sentence passed on two women in Nigeria for the “crime” of adultery: death by stoning. In justification he noted that AIDS was spread by unmarried people having sex. Stoning such people to death could therefore be regarded as an anti-HIV measure. When questioned on a television programme about his views on women being stoned to death for adultery, Tariq Ramadan refused to condemn it. Instead, he said, there should be “a moratorium.” You can see a lengthy extract from the television programme here. It features an exchange of views between Tariq Ramadan and Nicholas Sarkozy, who was then the French Interior Minister.
Tariq Ramadan and the Double Discourse
According to Tariq Ramadan, Muslims must say this to themselves: “Je dois développer un discours à la mesure de l'oreille qui l'écoute.” [“I must develop a discourse tailored to the ear that will hear it”]. In other words, Muslims must conceal their true intentions, and strive to seem plausible and rational to a Western audience, all the while concealing the extremism beneath.
In an article published in the Canadian Free Press, Dr. Sami Alrabaa quotes Tariq Ramadan as saying the following :
“My brothers and sisters, we must exploit the so-called democracy and freedom of speech here in the West to reach our goals. Our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and the Koran teach us that we must use every conceivable means and opportunity to defeat the enemies of Allah. Tell the infidels in public, we respect your laws and your constitutions, which we Muslims believe that these are as worthless as the paper they are written on. The only law we must respect and apply is the Shari’s...”
“The Germans claim that they want to integrate you in their society. We tell them we are going to integrate them in our Umma (Muslim world) after converting them to Islam.”
Tariq Ramadan’s Unsavoury Associates
As well as the objectionable things he has done and said himself, Tariq Ramadan maintains friendly relations with some highly questionable people.
Among these is Yahya Michot, who insists that the kidnapping and murder of seven Christian Cistercian monks at Tibhirine in Algeria was “justified from a religious point of view.” Ramadan described Michot as “a brother and a friend.”
Another is Asma Lamrabet. Ramadan wrote an approving preface to Lamrabet’s book, “Simply Muslim.” The book advised Muslim men to give their wives “a light slap” when they became hysterical during an argument.
Tariq Ramadan Rejected By the French Left
By uttering the usual platitudinous concerns about globalisation, etc., Tariq Ramadan often succeeds in projecting himself as a left-winger. On this basis, for example, he is welcomed on to the pages of The Guardian newspaper in the UK. But the French left, who are much more knowledgeable about what he represents, have firmly rejected him.
There is an excellent critique of Tariq Ramadan from a left perspective here.
Among the points made :
Tariq Ramadan is opposed to Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men, but not vice versa.
“a Muslim man can marry a Christian or Jewish woman...the reverse is not possible because a Muslim woman can't marry a man from another religion”.
Ramadan’s views on gays :
“Islam fixes very clear limits. God wanted an order, and this order is men for women and women for men. Homosexuality is not something admitted in Islam. (…) Homosexuality does not correspond to divine exigence as regards sexual relations... This act pushes men towards something that is quite similar to bestiality”