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"[T]his doesn't make me reject my grandfather."

In an interview published in Egypt Today, (which is archived here) we have the following from Tariq Ramadan:

But no, this doesn’t make me reject my grandfather. When I think of him, I put things into context and I think he did some very important things. His beliefs and thoughts were the products of a specific environment and he was trying to cope with that. I deal with him the way I deal with any actor in our history. He was not a prophet, he was not infallible.

Again, his grandfather was Hassan al Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organization that gave us Sayyid Qutb, perhaps the foremost "intellectual" of the Islamist movement. The Muslim Brotherhood was a precursor to Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the group which assassinated Anwar Sadat for making peace with Israel (the assassins were members of both the Brotherhood and EIJ). EIJ was eventually led and merged into al Qaeda by Ayman al Zawahiri.

We know that, in the West, a person cannot be guilty for the actions of their ancestors. The fact that Tariq Ramadan's grandfather was an Islamist should not be used to condemn the man. However, Mr. Ramadan, when given the chance to clarify his position re: his grandather's political legacy, gives us an equivocating statement in which he states that Hassan al-Banna did "important things" should be enough to cast doubt on any claims that the man is a "moderate."

November 2, 2004 | Permalink


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