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The Alliance for Workers' Liberty on Tariq Ramadan

The Alliance for Workers' Liberty (AWL) - a socialist organization in Great Britain - had two articles against Tariq Ramadan's scheduled appearances at the European Social Forum (ESF) in October, 2004. The themes of the ESF were "war and peace; democracy and fundamental rights; social justice and solidarity – against privatisation and deregulation, for workers, social and women’s rights; corporate globalisation and global justice; against racism, discrimination and the far right – for equality and diversity; environmental crisis, against neo-liberalism and for sustainable society" - in other words, the ESF is a project of the political left.

In Tariq Ramadan is not our ally, the AWL publishes a translation of a pamphlet distributed by the "Feminist Collective for a Secular Alternative Globalisation" at the 2003 ESF. I couldn't locate an official website for this "Collective," so I will include excerpts from the AWL's translation:
Tariq Ramadan is dangerous not because he is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna . . . but because he has never distanced himself from the ideological heritage of his grandfather, whom he continues to present as the "most influential of the Muslim reformists of the century" [1] when that reformism consisted of wanting to go back to the baseline of Sharia law.
. . .
Equally he does not dispute the right of a man to use conjugal violence, even if he emphasises that the Koran envisages it only as a “last resort” [3].
. . .
Tariq Ramadan is a fundamentalist leader who wants to go back to the baseline of the Koran. His positions are certainly preferable to the obviously fanatical recommendations of some other Islamists. But he locates himself in a reactionary perspective, incompatible with a progressive alternative globalisation, because it is about making men and women live in the terms of a book which is sanctified and decreed timeless although it was written more than 14 centuries ago.
. . .
Tariq Ramadan does not conceal his distaste for rationalism and modernity, even though he is careful to disguise it as an anti-capitalist discourse. "Because they give priority to rationality, efficiency and productivity for progress, our societies are on the brink of the abyss" [5], he explains in his book on The Meeting Point of Civilisations: Which Progress for Which Modernity? It must be understood that his hate of modernity is not only to do with commercialisation but also changing attitudes on the family, on which he explains: "If modernity comes at this price, it will be understood that both the Koran and the Sunna say no to the realisation of this modernisation." (notes on sources are listed at the end of the article)
In ESF rogues' gallery - Tariq Ramadan: not our ally, the AWL cites to an article from the French Marxist quarterly Critique Communiste, which published the following:
A subtle, sophisticated, not to say slippery, speaker and writer, [Ramadan] has constructed a version of Islamic fundamentalism smooth enough to reach out to young, educated, and socially integrated Muslims in Europe. He constructs an ideology which stays loyal to the mainstream Islamic fundamentalism of his grandfather — Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood — never disavowing or contradicting it, while at the same time never sharply disavowing basic secular and democratic values.

In the mainly-Muslim world, [Ramadan] claims, “‘secular’ means ‘dictatorship’, when you look at the historical balance-sheet of political regimes like Turkey, Syria, Tunisia, and others” (Alain Gresh and Tariq Ramadan, L’Islam en question, p181). His alternative? Iran. “The country which has advanced most towards democratic institutionalisation is Iran, out of the orbit of the big powers… In twenty years, Iran has transformed itself more — not only on the political level but also on that of ideas and modes of relating to scriptural references — than any other apparently progressive Muslim country” (p119, 129).
So the AWL, a socialist organization, concludes that Tariq Ramadan is an Islamist. Add the AWL, EuroFeminists, and French Marxists to the list of A. Peter Walshe's "Likudniks" who oppose Tariq Ramadan. Grow up, Professor Walshe. This is a fight between 7th century fundamentalists and the modern world, not some Jewish cabal trying to "oppress" some poor fellow.

December 1, 2004 | Permalink


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