Thursday, December 09, 2004

Tariq Ramadan's Critics (Part 1)

The Tariq Ramadan controversy seems to be hotting up again.

From my previous post, concerning Robert Kagan's remarks: the Harry's Place post I linked recommends Clive Davis,  whose new blog has this, which links to Melanie Phillips Diary (1 Dec) 'taking aim at' Tariq Ramadan.

The very evening I read that (7 Dec), France Inter had an interview with Caroline Fourest who has just written a book attacking Tariq Ramadan. His ideal of an Islamic state, she claims is Hassan Al-Turabi's in Sudan. Melanie Phillips has something similar. Al-Turabi was no saint certainly, but it should be noted that his is not the regime in power currently in Khartoum. In fact, it is rumoured that he was behind the rebels in Darfur (see my comments here).  Fourest also claimed that Tariq Ramadan said the ideal state for women was... Iran. Again, it should be remembered that whatever criticism can be made about the status of women in Iran, they are less restricted there than in Saudi Arabia.

Fourest referred constantly to prédicateurs. Now, that's a word you don't hear that often in French. I looked it up (prédicateur, prédicatrice - preacher). Obviously, in English when you talk about somebody 'preaching', it has negative connotations, unless they are, well, a preacher. In her written articles and interviews on Tariq Ramadan too, of all the words she could have used to describe him - scholar, academic, writer - it is always that : prédicateur.

Fourest also mentioned as a path to be avoided, and one that Nicolas Sarkozy may be drifting towards, le  communautarisme anglo-saxone (communautarisme = emphasis on issues relating to minorities and ethnic communities within society). So she is saying that France should not adopt Britain's policy (or perhaps that of the US) with regard to its Muslims, whatever that means.

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