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Boston Globe profile

The Boston Globe profiled Tariq Ramadan in late 2003. The article is archived at Dhimmi Watch, so you can read it here. According to the Boston Globe article,

Secular France can't seem to decide if Ramadan is friend or foe. He is, after all, an Islamist, meaning that he believes Islam furnishes a political as well as a spiritual worldview. For majority Muslim societies like those of the Middle East, Ramadan envisions a reformed, moderate, but nonetheless Islam-based political and legal system. In the end, such a system would look a lot like Western secular democracy, he says, though its legitimacy would derive from Islamic sources. (emphasis added)

The article continues:

Take, for instance, the harshest Islamic corporal punishments, such as stoning adulterous wives or cutting off the hands of thieves. Ramadan personally finds such penalties unacceptable and un-Islamic. He believes a moratorium should be called on them while Islamic scholars ask themselves three questions: What is in the texts? How does the contemporary context affect how we read the texts? Is the policy implementable?

Robert Spencer, the webmaster of Dhimmi Watch, asks the following in response to this passage:

I don't know how [Ramadan] can maintain this. Amputation is in the Qur'an: "As to the thief, male or female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime: and Allah is Exalted in power" (Sura 5:38). How can Ramadan convince anyone that this punishment is un-Islamic in the face of this verse? Meanwhile, stoning is based on well-attested statements of Muhammad: "Abu Huraira reported that a person from amongst the Muslims came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) while he was in the mosque. He called him saying: Allah's Messenger. I have committed adultery. . . . Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Take him and stone him" (Sahih Muslim, book 17, no. 4196). Will Ramadan dare say that the Prophet was wrong?

The article also points out that Islamism relies on the text of the Koran as a source for how society must be organized:

But what if the best efforts of Muslim scholars still reveal a God who insists on cruel and discriminatory punishments? There can be no recourse to extrinsic principles, such as human rights or equality. The final word lies in the Koran and with those who interpret it.
. . .

Right now in Europe, however, there is a generation of Muslims hanging on Ramadan's every word. Is he making moderates into Islamists, or Islamists into moderates? From a secular point of view, only the second option may be desirable. To Ramadan, however, the two processes are inseparable: They are two halves of a whole.

So are reformists like Ramadan mitigating the worst excesses of a cruel political system, or are they simply sugarcoating it? If the former, moderate Islamism is perhaps the greatest hope for human rights in countries ruled by sharia (Islamic law). If the latter, moderate Islamism, whatever its advocates' intentions, looks more like a potentially deceptive sales pitch. (emphasis added)

Is Islamicizing moderate Muslims is part of the Kroc Institute's agenda?

November 7, 2004 | Permalink


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