Tariq Ramadan

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Tariq Ramadan was born in Switzerland in 1962 to Egyptian parents. (His father, Said Ramadan, had founded the Islamic Centre in Geneva the year before, having fled Egypt in 1954 due to Nasser's crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood -- Tariq is a grandson, on his mother's side, of Muslim Brothers founder Hassan El-Banna.)

Tariq Ramadan was appointed Henry R. Luce Professor of Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute. The appointment was supposed to become effective in the autumn of 2004 but he was denied a visa.

While he has been attacked as anti-Semitic, he has attracted the support of thinkers and intellectuals of the calibre of the late Edward Said, Naom Chomsky, Francois Bugart, Edgar Morin and Norman Finkelstein, several of whom are Jewish.

Hani Ramadan is his uncle.

From an As'ad AbuKhalil comment (4 February 2007):

The case of Tariq Ramadan. OK, I have not spoken or written before on the case of Tariq Ramadan. I of course still believe that denying him entry into the US is politically-motivated and quite unjust, when Abraham Foxman and Pat Robertson can roam freely in 50 states. But that is not the issue here. I have always been of the view that 1) Ramadan has nothing original to say; 2) that he really seems to speak differently to different audiences, and he admits that in this profile. Look how he explains his position on stoning (he is against it but not really): "Ramadan replied that he favored "a moratorium" on such practices but refused to condemn the law outright. Many people, including Sarkozy, were outraged. When I talked with Ramadan in London, the mere mention of the word "stoning" set him off on a long explanation. "Personally," he said, "I'm against capital punishment, not only in Muslim countries, but also in the U.S. But when you want to be heard in Muslim countries, when you are addressing religious issues, you can't just say it has to stop. I think it has to stop." But that is not what upset me: what upset me is his dishonest mischaracterization of Hasan Banna's views: "My position on Hassan al-Banna is that he was much closer to Muhammad Abduh. He was in favor of a British-style parliamentary system, which was not against Islam." He adds that Sayyid Qutb's writings were the inspiration for Al-Qa`idah, and not Banna's. I say both were, clearly. And if he thinks that he can fool Buruma, he certainly can't fool those who have read, or can read, the writings of Banna. So instead of completing an entry on the Fath Movement that I have to complete for a forthcoming encyclopedia, I found myself rereading Al-Banna. Hasan Al-Banna is by any definition a fanatic extremist whose views on social and political relations are anathema to anybody who believes in equality for all. His views which helped shape the Muslim Brotherhood serve as the foundations for groups like Al-Qa`idah. (I will be referring to his collected letters, published as Hasan Al-Banna, Majmu`at Rasa'il Al-Imam Ash-Shahid Hasan Al-Banna, (Beirut: Dar Al-Andalus, 1965). Al-Banna can't be comapred to `Abduh or to Afghani (not that I am a fan of any of them). Al-Banna did not believe that non-Muslims could even hold office of Wilayah `Ammah (see p. 13), and even the minor offices can be held by non-Muslims only "when necesarry"; Al-Banna whose views for the organization were quite fascistic did not even believe that people should even drink coffee or tea ("except when necessary"), and forbade smoking (p. 20); he called on Muslims to boycott civil courts and all "non-Muslim courts" (p. 23); he called on Muslims to "accompany always the intention of Jihad [more on his understanding of Jihad] and martyrdom, and to be prepared always for it..." (p. 24); his understanding of Jihad was clear: he in fact rejected the Hadith that said that Jihad against the enemies is the smaller Jihad. He argued that this is not a reliable Hadith. For him, the greater martyrdom is only for those who "kill or are killed" in the path of God (pp. 58-59); he called for the ummah to "perfect the making of death, and to know how to die a noble death..." (p. 60); he bluntly spoke about the "militarism of Islam" (al-quwwah al-jundiyyah) (p. 173); he called for reconsideration of the curricula of teaching girls and the "necessity of differentiating between them and the curricula of boys in many of the levels of education" (p. 194); he called for a ban on "mixing between male and female students, and to consider any khulwah (private meeting) between a man and a woman (who is not permitted for him) a crime for which they should be punished" (p. 194); "confiscation of of exciting novels and skeptical, polluting books and newspapers that work to spread debauchery and that severely exploits instincts." (p. 195); he called for "censorship of song, and its selection and its tight monitoring" (p. 195); and it is quite inaccurate to say that somebody who kept calling for "the return of the nidham al-Islam" is somebody who admired British democracy (not that I am a fan of British democracy mind you). I don't like being lied to, OK?
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