Thursday, December 09, 2004

Tariq Ramadan's Critics (Part 2)

Time to reread Deborag Sontag's article in The New York Times of 6 Oct. (reprinted here), which I quoted from previously, and to do some googling.
Ramadan is a descendant of Hasan al Banna who founded the Muslim Brotherhood, the extreme sect which fathered modern Islamofascism. In August, the US revoked Ramadan’s entry visa on the grounds that he had connections with terrorist activity. He has vehemently denied this. But this is what the Islam scholar Daniel Pipes has revealed of Ramadan’s history:
- Mr. Ramadan was banned from entering France in 1996 on suspicion of having links with an Algerian Islamist who had recently initiated a terrorist campaign in Paris.     (Melanie Phillips)
I don't see anyone today who is as effective as Tariq Ramadan in furthering fundamentalism in France. He radicalizes the Muslims under his influence by introducing them to the thought of Hassan al-Banna (this constitutes the introduction to his recorded seminars), then he brings them into contact with the present-day ideologues of the Muslim Brotherhood: Youssef al-Qaradhawi, one of the few Muslim theologians openly to approve suicide attacks, or Fayçal Mawlawi, who is not only a Muslim Brother, but also the principal chief of a Lebanese terrorist organization.
 I was struck by the extent to which the discourse of Tariq Ramadan is often just a repetition of the discourse that Banna had at the beginning of the 20th century in Egypt. He never criticizes his grandfather. On the contrary, he presents him as a model to be followed, a person beyond reproach, non-violent and unjustly criticized because of the "Zionist lobby"! This sends chills down one's spine when one knows the extent to which Banna was a fanatic, that he gave birth to a movement out of which the worst Jihadis (like Ayman al-Zawahiri, the n° 2 man of Al-Qaeda) have emerged and that he wanted to establish a theocracy in every country having a single Muslim.    (Caroline Fourest, in L'Express (1) --- translation)
“It’s still not clear to him or us who turned him down and on what grounds,” said the Rev. Edward A. Malloy, president of Notre Dame. [on the US revoking his visa]
In 1928, Hasan al-Banna, Mr. Ramadan’s maternal grandfather, founded the Muslim Brotherhood, a revivalist movement that advocated a return to Islam as a defense against Western colonialism and decadence. In 1949, Mr. Banna was assassinated at the age of 42. Mr. Ramadan never knew his grandfather; he studied him.

He is critical of his grandfather’s sloganeering - “The Koran is our constitution” was one motto - disagrees with him about “many things about the West,” and scoffs at the idea of an Islamic state.

But he says his grandfather is misremembered in several ways.

For instance, although the history of the Muslim Brotherhood is dotted with violence, and the group gave rise to more militant organizations, Mr. Banna himself was not personally violent, nor did he legitimize violence, Mr. Ramadan said. His empathy for the poor was admirable, Mr. Ramadan said, and his thinking was more nuanced than many followers and critics understand.
When Mr. Ramadan’s father died in 1995, the Swiss government warned him that the Egyptians would arrest him if he accompanied the body home for burial, Mr. Ramadan said. He believes that it is because he provoked the Egyptian ambassador to France during a television talk show by attacking Egypt’s human rights record.

Late that same year, France barred Mr. Ramadan. Although rumors circulated that he was kept out because of ties to an Algerian terrorist, Mr. Ramadan said he believed that it was due to pressure from the Egyptians. He challenged the ban and it was lifted, but it lingered as a stain on his reputation... (NYT)
More to follow.


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