Stephen Schwartz: Examining the Associations of Tariq Ramadan





[Stephen Schwartz is executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism. This article was sponsored by Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.]

In an important development for the fight against extremist Islam in the West, the Dutch city of Rotterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam have dismissed Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss-born Islamist academic, from his two local jobs.

Born in Switzerland, Ramadan is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. He is a close associate of the fundamentalist Muslim theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi, with whom he collaborates in the so-called European Council for Fatwas and Research [ECFR], a Brotherhood-oriented body. Al-Qaradawi is the leading theorist of a "European Islam" that would abuse Western standards of religious freedom by erecting a parallel system of Shariah law alongside established civil law, coupled with aggressive da'wa or Islamic proselytizing. Ramadan has endorsed this strategy. The ECFR scheme, and Tariq Ramadan's involvement in it, are documented in the recent Center for Islamic Pluralism report, A Guide to Shariah Law and Islamist Ideology in Western Europe, 2007-2009.

Ramadan has been barred from entry into the U.S. since 2004, when he was invited by the University of Notre Dame to become the Henry R. Luce Professor at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. That ruling was based on Ramadan's financial contributions to two Palestinian groups designated by the U.S. Treasury as fundraising agencies for the terrorists of Hamas. Early in July of this year, however, given the new atmosphere of outreach to Muslim radicals under President Barack Obama, the Second Circuit U.S. Appeals Court reversed the lower-court ruling, effectively nullifying the prohibition on an American visa for Ramadan.

Meanwhile, Britain in 2005 allowed Ramadan to take up a position at Oxford University, where he is the His Highness Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Chair in Contemporary Islamic Studies.

Ramadan is an indefatigable self-promoter. Few who have observed him paid attention to his work in The Netherlands as an integration adviser for the city of Rotterdam and a professor of "Citizenship and Identity" at Erasmus University.

Yet while the U.S. authorities now seem inclined to allow him on our shores, and Britain appears untroubled by his presence - although the UK bars his associate al-Qaradawi - the Dutch have taken action to curb Ramadan's ambitions...

... Tariq Ramadan hides his extremist views in plain sight. Why do the British and now, unfortunately, the American authorities fail to comprehend the evidence in front of them? The U.S. ban on him should be reviewed again... and upheld.



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