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New Statesman on Tariq Ramadan

The New Statesman, a magazine founded by socialists and is now associated with the British left, profiled Tariq Ramadan in its June 21, 2004 issue (Vol. 17, Iss. 812, p. 32). The article may be purchased in their online archives (just search using "Tariq Ramadan" in the "search for" box). The substance of the article indicates that Ramadan is not a moderate Muslim, is an apologist for Islamists, and hardly a supporter of a secular, pluralistic society.

[Ramadan] has put political Islam at the very top of the political agenda in France, challenging ministers over the banning of the hijab in French schools and defending the application of sharia law in Muslim areas. (emphasis added)
. . .
Although he studied French literature and philosophy as an undergraduate at the University of Geneva, Tariq Ramadan chose 19th-century reformist Islam as the subject of his doctoral thesis. Much to the chagrin of his supervisor-who later described him as a "pseudo-intellectual" and "vain opportunist" - the thesis ended up as a hagiography of his grandfather [Hassan al-Bana]. (emphasis added)
. . .
What is clear from Ramadan's writings is that, for young Muslims, integration into western society as it exists is not an option. He refers to the concept of tawhid, faith in the unity of God, which he sees as a universal value. It is the west that has to be integrated into this totality. In other words, he does not see Islam adapting to local conditions - as is the case with many more progressive Islamic thinkers such as Mohammed Taleb or Malek Chebel - but as an extension of the "house of Islam" into the land of the unbelievers. Muslims in Europe should not consider themselves a minority in alien territory but as leaders in the spiritual redemption of the west. (emphasis added)
. . .
At the [cafe in the Grande Mosquee de Pans], the jury is still out on Tariq Ramadan. "He pretends to be a moderate but anyone who has heard his speeches knows that he is a sympathiser with hardliners," says a well-dressed young woman in a disgusted tone of voice. . . . The consensus at the Grande Mosquee, which has always been at considerable remove from hardliners, is that Ramadan is no Martin Luther, but a propagandist for radical Islam. (emphasis added)

November 14, 2004 | Permalink


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