Wednesday, October 13, 2004

"Tariq Ramadan is not our ally"

The Islamist writer Tariq Ramadan is a top-billed speaker at the European Social Forum in London in October. There is a lot of confusion about Ramadan's politics since the Bush adminstration has cancelled his visa to lecture at Notre Dame University.

The Alliance for Workers Liberty, a left group in Great Britain has translated a leaflet that was distributed at the European Social Forum in Paris on 12–16 November 2003 by the “Feminist Collective for a Secular Alternative Globalisation”.

Here are the first few paragraphs:

Tariq Ramadan is dangerous not because he is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood and originator of a political Islam which has wreaked havoc across the world, 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.

Tariq Ramadan is worrying not because he is the brother of Hani Ramadan, an Islamist theoretician who endorses stoning for adultery and considers AIDS to be a divine punishment, but because he himself reckons that one cannot be both Muslim and homosexual, even if he does not advise physical punishment for homosexuals. “God wanted things in order. And that order is ‘man for woman’ and ‘woman for man’,”, he explains in his lectures to young Muslims [2]. By taking up the Koran in a literal way, he endorses the doctrine of a divine and natural order which we would not accept from a Christian fundamentalist.

Challenged to demarcate himself from his brother, Tariq Ramadan does so only very ambiguously. Instead of condemning physical punishments and demanding their abolition, he contents himself with proposing a “total and absolute moratorium, to give us the time to go back to our fundamental texts… and to determine precisely the necessary conditions”.

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].
Read the entire article on the AWL website
and the French original here.

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