Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Visionary, Omnipresent Tariq Ramadan

You never can tell where ol’ Taqiyya is going to show up. The busy scholar certainly gets around.

This time he was interviewed for the April 2008 edition of the ‘Lifestyle’ magazine The Suburb, a free, glossy, throwaway rag published in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Reader JP sent us a snip and it was so interesting that we asked for the whole thing. As it turned out the magazine’s only online presence does not carry the articles from the print edition. As far as we can tell, no online version of this interview currently exists. According to JP, “this glossy expensive free magazine is funded (apparently) by adverts for curry houses!” Next thing you know, he’ll be seen in grocery store flyers.

Hearing our enthusiasm, JP took the trouble to transcribe the whole thing. He says that all the spelling peculiarities are to be found in the original.

You’ll see Taqiyya Ramadan described as a “philosopher and Arabist”. As the Baron said, “If Taqiyya is an ‘Arabist’ then I’m a ‘programmer and Virginianist’, and Fjordman is a ‘scholar and Vikingist’.”

Me, I’m the Queen of Hearts… and I present TR at his finest:

Interview with Professor Tariq Ramadan - A visionary

Professor Tariq Ramadan is the son of Said Ramadan.

Heh. The author doesn’t mention that he’s also the grandson of one of the founders of the Muslim Brotherhood, or that they left Egypt for Switzerland when Granddaddy was assassinated and things got too hot in Cairo for the M.B. political style.

Tariq RamadanAs well as holding an MA in Philosophy and French literature, Professor Tariq Ramadan also holds a PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies gained from the University of Geneva. In Cairo, he has also studied for a classic Islamic scholarship where he received one-to-one intensive training from Al-Azhar University.

In addition to being a Professor of Islamic Studies (Faculty of Theology at Oxford), Dr Tariq Ramadan is also a Visiting Professor in Identity and citizenship at Erasmus University in Rotterdam (Netherlands). As an active individual, also known as a philosopher and Arabist, the professor has authored and co-authored over twenty books and seven hundred articles.

I wonder if this makes the 701st article? After the first couple of hundred, why would any scholar keep the numbers in his head? Could our humble professor be a wee bit egotistical? And what in heaven’s name is a “Visiting Professor of Identity and Citizenship”? I didn’t think we were allowed to have citizens with identities. Isn’t that politically incorrect, if not downright racist? Hmmm…maybe it depends on who is doing the identifying and signifying here.
- - - - - - - - -
He lectures at academic and civic organisations around the world in which he has contributed substantially to the debate on the issues of Muslims in the West and Islamic revival in the Muslim world. Many of his lectures involve issues including social injustice, ethics of citizenship and dialogue between civilisations.

Of course, he doesn’t lecture in the U.S. because Homeland Security vetoed a visa when Notre Dame tried to get him on board. A rare hurrah for the bureaucrats.

Luckily, The Suburb Magazine managed to catch up the very busy Professor Tariq Ramadan on route to delivering a speech at the University of Bradford where he gave us a quick insight of many of his ideas, principles, and visions.

‘I am just trying to do something simple. We all are faced with this deep challenge - a challenge of how to stay true to our faith and to understand the challenge of reconciling faiths.’

The Professor talked about the problems that Muslim’s face in the West and what should be done to combat these. ‘The problem we face is the perception of Islam in the West. We are treated as an immigrant religion when technically Islam is itself a European religion. We need to embrace the richness of this historical relation between Islam and Europe and look at our positives to combat the negative perceptions connected to us. There are millions of Muslims who hold a civil, social and intellectual presence here and this is a very important message when addressing these different perceptions linked to Muslims.’

Now you see why we call him Taqiyya. If the Muslims ever came to power, the good professor could turn on a dime and start preaching his Muslim Brotherhood politics faith. But for the moment, the Ummah isn’t here so he has to sound sincere.

‘As Muslims in the West, we not only ask questions in regards to our identity but also find that the society around us is asking us the very same question. My opinion is that identity issues have occurred throughout history and are nothing new. In fact today, even if we look at life regardless of religion, we will find that we have identity problems and will always suffer from them’ commented the Professor when talking about Identity issues. He continued on this topic stating that ‘however, we Muslims should be able to state confidently that we are European Muslims and not be viewed as being naturalised civilians of a state. The process of overcoming the issue will take time and the grassroots level is very important here. The professor expressed his confidence and hope for the change he wants to see and remarked that ‘In today’s society we can see women overachieving men generally and this seesm to be especially the case for Muslim women which means that at the grassroots, change is gradually coming.’

“Naturalized civilians”?? What is that? Jihadists in disguise? And of course, he is a “European” not a citizen of Switzerland. How does one say “uber alles” in Arabic? As for the p.c. stuff about women, don’t buy it. When they were stoning women in Tehran, the most he could do was to ask them to call a temporary halt to the more barbaric parts of Shari’ah. Of course, that was immediately following his turndown by the United States, so he had to pick his way carefully through that minefield. But should Islam reign supreme, I expect to see him pick up the first rock.

During our discussion about Islam in the West, the Professor commented on how he believes that Islam is safe in the West and noted that each individual will have a different view on this but ‘there should be no problem being a Muslim and living in the West. To me, the principles of Islam are much more protected here in Western countries. However we should not fall into binary statements like whether Islam is easier tp practice in Western countries or eastern countries. It all depends on how we view the term ‘better’.

Well, gentle readers, he’s certainly right about that. The principles of Islam are protected especially by the EUSSR and the UNSSR. I love the “binary statements” rhetoric.

He then went on to say ‘in the social, political and economic fields, it is easier being a Muslim in the West. Even so, we still need to achieve better health care and education in the Muslim countries. This ultimately is a global issue.’

Furthermore, the Professor in response to the questions of what Muslims need to do if they want to see change stated that ‘The starting point for change is to stop hypocrisy and corruption within states. We also need to be self critical and most importantly put a strategy in place in order for any changes to occur. Ideally, it is important for us to be in touch with civil society and commit at grass roots levels. We cannot and should not wait for anybody to bring change to us. It is important for us to strive ourselves and not rely on others.’

‘It is important to realise that we must not just focus on western Muslim’s. We must take a multiangled approach and learn from each other and not restrict ourselves to a set geographical area.’ For Professor Tariq Ramadan, everyone working together cannot be emphasised enough as he argued that ‘ultimately the point I am trying to make is that there is not a certain individual or group who is expected to lead change, but rather it is the responsibility for our entire society to work together. We are all in the same boat trying to find the right direction’.

This is not “multiangled” at all. It’s a deft soft-shoe routine across the face of Western civilization. His doublespeak is actually “multitangled” which is how I read the word initially. Ramadan has a talent for making the eyes glaze over.

He further commented that ‘the importance of equality and concept of ‘one platform for all’ cannot be understated. We must all work together in terms of society as a whole. As citizens no-one is a minority. As fellow citizens we must understand that democracy is about ideals and if the government’s ideals match your’s then support it, but if these ideals go against your own then stand in opposition to it. This is the very cornerstone of democracy.’

Placing emphasis on the fact that everyone should work together and how each individuals efforts are valued, the Professor also stated that ‘I am trying my best as an individual and I hope that people do not only look at my strengths but also my weaknesses. I am not a lone figure on some kind of venture. It is important that we have effective leadership by different individuals. However my message is not to idolise those individuals but to be creative, active and have self confidence. These things are very important to achieve change.’

Oh, dear Lord..” ‘the importance of equality and concept of ‘one platform for all’ cannot be understated. We must all work together in terms of society as a whole. As citizens no-one is a minority.” One-size fits all government means “no one is a minority.” What is this man smoking?? Obviously he yearns for Utopia, the Muslim Lake Wobegon where all the children are above average and all the women are in the back, unseen and unheard. Right where they belong.

And now to the merciful last paragraph:

Our short but very useful insight into the thoughts and views of Professor Tariq Ramadan ended with a few comments about the Professor himself as he told us that, ‘People often ask me what motivates me. For me it is simple, I am nothing new. I come from a background of creative thinkers and am simply following the footsteps of those before me. What I hope that everyone understands is that I want people to walk with me and not just simply follow me.’“

Hint: when he says he is “simply following the footsteps before me” he’s referring to his grandaddy’s size 13 D sandals. Let me tell you, those are some deep, dark footsteps he’s falling in. Definitely not a game for amateurs.

Al-Banna was assassinated for probable cause; let’s hope his grandson avoids the same fate.

Hat tip: JP


Michael said...

Tariq is one smooth operator. He was in Australia recently, brought by the Islamic Councils, to promote Islam amongst journalists, universities and government officials.

There is an excellent book called, Brother Tariq: the doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan.

Tariq's father was instrumental in the building of the Mosque in Munich and the establishment of the Muslim brotherhood in the mosque. Guess which mosque had terrorists in it?


randian said...

When did Islam become a European religion? Is this a backhanded way of telling Spain "once ours always ours"? If Islam is a European religion why does it exalt Arab language, Arab dress, and Arab culture over all others? Why do newly reverted Muslims renounce their given names and take Arab ones?

Annoy Mouse said...

Talking about the banality of evil, what mealy mouthed drivel.

Profitsbeard said...

Islam requires the sacrifice of the critical intellect, and all that is left is a cunning propagandizer for medieval stupidity, rigidity, stone age intolerance, retrograde superstition and permanent, unskeptical blindness.

Who cares what anyone willing to subdue their mind for this sanctimonious drivel "thinks"?

It is all programmed treachery for the cruel ends of tyrannical Islam

Dymphna said...

Good term: "programmed treachery"
If Islam is a European religion why does it exalt Arab language, Arab dress, and Arab culture over all others? Why do newly reverted Muslims renounce their given names and take Arab ones?

Thanks. I saw that and did a double take but then forgot to go back to it...I can only imagine what an ordinary Muslim would respond to such a claim? But he's trying to bolster his one world utopia...were it to happen, we'd all have Arab names.

Luisa said...

When one criticises something or someone, he/she should know what they're talking about .
Is called intellectual honesty, and to this principle also those who promote hatred against Islam and Muslims should abide by .
Prof. Ramadan has never preached that Islam must rule the world : he speaks in favour of integration .
He wants European Muslims to feel at home in Europe because it's their right as citizens, not because they are Muslims .
He asks them to respect the laws and traditions of the country in which they're living, same as he asks to the natives of that country to respect these citizens .
This process requires knowledge between different culturesm : a mere "perception of the other" is not enough cause it brings only clashes .
He didn't say that Islam is a European religion but that European culture has its roots in Islam same as in Christianity .
What's the problem with being the grandson of Hassan al Banna ? He did a remarkable work in Islamic field . I don't see why he should reject it .
He refuted with clear evidences all the accusations leading to his ban from entering the US .
But America is afraid of him, because he would bring this and other truths to the general public .
Your current administration has built its power on frictions among nations and civilisations .
His presence on American soil would indeed spoil their plans .
Who's practising taqiyya now ?

randian said...

"European culture has its roots in Islam"

What are you smoking? There is nothing remotely Islamic about the roots of European culture.

Luisa said...

The only thing am currently smoking is a mix of bromexine HCl and saline solution to cure a bad inflammation of my sinus :P
Avicenna, Averroe' and others : they did contribute to the development of the European culture .
Is a fact which cannot be denied nor has to be feared .

Dymphna said...

Balqis proposes this thesis:

When one criticises something or someone, he/she should know what they're talking about

The obverse is also true: when one praises someone or something, she should know what she's talking about.

Avicenna, Averroe have been in their graves these many generations now, and Spain's reconquista of its land is a settled fact, though not one the Muslims have given up on.

Their contributions, while worthy, are hardly essential. And what others did with their material was more important. You see how few names you can muster for the genius of Islam?

What does remain of Muslim culture in the West are some wonderful agricultural products, and some language borrowings. But the nomadic Arab way of structuring society -- no doubt crucial to the survival of its people in an unforgiving desert environment does not transplant easily to more temperate zones. In fact, it is destructive in any place but its original environment.

As for T. Ramadan, I have researched him. The smartest thing that Homeland Security has done to date is to refuse him admission to the US. Unfortunately, that may change if Barrack Hussein Obama becomes our next President. In fact, you'll see ol' Taqiyya on the invitation list to White House dinners.

Look at Michael's suggestions for research on Ramadan. He gave you a book and a link. Try working your way through them.

Also ask yourself where your cutting edge scientists are, where your technological innovations are, where are the geniuses that each society is expected to nurture and promote?

Where is the liberty and freedom of speech that civilization has been promoting since the Enlightenment?

Islam doesn't have that because it is a culture of submission, not creation. And of course because of the need for submission, Islam is impelled to dominate others. That's the root of its lasting emotional demand -- long after logic has left the room -- to have land returned to it that it took away from others in the first place.

If the best you can do is throw Averroes back as your response, then you have my condolences.

Be sure you look closely at Ramadan's intellectual "achievements" -- they are third rate at best.

As well as holding an MA in Philosophy and French literature, Professor Tariq Ramadan also holds a PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies gained from the University of Geneva. In Cairo, he has also studied for a classic Islamic scholarship where he received one-to-one intensive training from Al-Azhar University.

Parse those "achievements" of his, and see them for what they're worth intellectually.

Luisa said...

Am following this blog since the beginning
I don't know why you're always so tough on Islam, whether you have some hidden agenda or really you think that Islam is a danger
In both cases I do not understand : am European by birth, I was raised up as a Catholic
At a certain point of my life I found that there was a big hole in that religion because is based on a theology : you have to believe in it but it doesn't have a rational explanation, which makes it incomplete [am not offending here, just explaining my path]
I found in Islam many answers and decided to embrace
I found in it also many questions and contradictions but this only in the beginning, while approaching it
If you study the religion carefully, you will find no question mark nor contradiction but it takes time, patience, and commitment
Then I moved to the M.E. for personal reasons and I understood some mechanisms that belong to the culture but that can easily mixed with the religious practice These make the problems specially for Muslims in the West
I carry with me an heritage made of two cultures and two religions
There is a connection among them, a continuity
It doesn't have to be necessarily a clash
When Tariq highlighted that roots of European culture are to be found in Islam as well, he was commenting on the remarks of the Pope about Christian roots [you can find the article on his website and you can try to contact him there if really you're interested to know his point of view not bypassed by media]
I agree with you [and with G.B.Guerri, who works with Ida Magli, whose articles I've seen translated here time ago] that currently the Arab Muslim contribution to culture is very poor, but in my opinion is not because Islam is a backward religion, simply cause its wrong interpretation and the repressive attitude of some Arab totalitarian regimes, have left to sleep Arab minds
You can read also Adonis opinion on the issue
Islam is not a culture of mere submission, is a culture of submission for liberation, big difference
When we pray 5 times a day, when we wear scarves, when we use the right hand to eat, when we use the left foot to leave a filthy place, that has not to be seen as just a mechanic act : is the harmonius realisation to tend to our God We know that by fulfilling the pillars, by keeping loyal to a moral-social code, we are realising the tawhid, the unity of God in which we find the peace
Am not here to convert you, do not worry but am here because am tired to see written on internet [which is a powerful mean] a series of misconceptions that bring to a wrong perception
Am not a scholar but am studying my religion day after day
For the same reason I decided to defend Prof. Ramadan : he is the victim of an unfair system, of an unfair way of judging things and people
You can agree or disagree with him, same as you can with Islam, but you have to base your judgement on the facts that he brings to you
Is very superficial to go to an anti Islamic site and try to understand his thought [which is complex and articulated, he really studied a lot] or to throw his name on google and base your judgement on what ibn warraq or Christopher Hitchens say about him
You need to read his books, his articles, listen to his words
If you done all this with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, if you drank all the lies she said about Islam, then you must do the same work with prof. Ramadan
Then you can approve or not of his theories but you must give him the chance to speak
The accusations formulated against him, are baseless but his presence on American soil is dangerous because he might convince the average American that Islam and Muslims are not that bad, that is possible to know, to meet, to learn about their religion without fear, that is possible to live together in peace
This is not liked by your current administration because they prefer to keep frictions among nations
Iraq with Saddam was good til a certain time, then they wanted to change the scenario and started a war
Same happened in Afghanistan, same they want with Iran
This is not a strategy of si vis pacem para bellum
This is eternal war
Is your country and your government, up to you but am not really sure they're working for the good of the people
Thanks for giving me the chance to make myself clear

VinceP1974 said...

Hi balqis... I'm just a commentator here.

I don't know why you're always so tough on Islam, whether you have some hidden agenda or really you think that Islam is a danger

I've seen this site accused of a lot things but subtly is not one of them. I think the agenda is pretty overt and spelled out in its "motto":

"At the siege of Vienna in 1683 Islam seemed poised to overrun Christian Europe. We are in a new phase of a very old war"

That is the historical and current truth that cannot be denied.