BY JOHN ISMAEL
Tariq Ramadan is a French-Swiss Muslim academic, philosopher, and writer. He is the Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at St Antony’s College and teaches at the Faculty of Theology and Religion, also at the University of Oxford. He is the director of the Research Centre of Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE), based in Doha. He also happens to be a member of the UK Foreign Office Advisory Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
Ramadan describes himself as a “Salafi reformist” which is not how most sensible people see him at all. Most sensible people who have followed him, or debated him, over the years see Ramadan as the most eloquent version of Mr Taqiyya. A slippery fish, who pretends to be a reformer, but all the time supports the aims of the extremists – a global Islamic Caliphate, the imposition of sharia law and the domination of the world by Islam. In other words, Ramadan is an Islamist, and – on account of his equivocation – a very dangerous human being to boot.
French journalist Caroline Fourest analysed 15 books, 1,500 pages of interviews, and approximately 100 recordings by Ramadan, and concluded “Ramadan is a war leader”, an “Islamist” and the “political heir of his grandfather”, Hassan al-Banna (who in 1928 founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt), stating that his discourse is “often just a repetition of the discourse that Banna had at the beginning of the 20th century in Egypt”, and that he “presents [al-Banna] as a model to be followed.”
Fourest is one of the sensible people who argues that “Tariq Ramadan is slippery. He says one thing to his faithful Muslim followers and something else entirely to his Western audience. His choice of words, the formulations he uses – even his tone of voice – vary, chameleon-like, according to his audience.” (Ramadan in response claims that Fourest’s book contains 200 errors, only three of which she has confirmed.)
See what you personally make of Ramadan from this stormy BBC interview between Ramadan and the writer / commentator Douglas Murray:
Ramadan has been very quiet recently. I was wondering why….
It turns out that Tariq Ramadan has been denied bail in France, four days after he was remanded in custody on charges of rape. After a swirl of rumours here and in France following the #metoo campaign, Ramadan was charged with rape two Fridays ago after two women accused him of violently assaulting them in hotel rooms in Lyon and Paris in 2009 and 2012 after conferences. Ramadan denies any wrongdoing.
The two women went public with the allegations late last year when women began sharing accounts of sexual harassment and assault as part of the #MeToo and #BalanceTonPorc (“squeal on your pig”) campaign triggered by the revelations against the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. According to The Guardian newspaper, the arrest of the influential academic – a regular on TV debates who has more than 2 million Facebook followers – has rocked the French Muslim community.
Ramadan took leave of absence from Oxford in November after the allegations surfaced.
So that explains the silence.
Ah well, here’s some of Tariq’s words from the past, if you’re missing the old boy:
“Our emotions are often beautiful, but they can also be dangerous. They represent our spontaneity, and seem to speak to us of our freedom.”
And if you’re not, here’s a delightful nasheed: