Europe,  Iran

Dutch university terminates Tariq Ramadan’s appointment due to Press TV involvement

Here’s a statement from Erasmus University in Rotterdam:

The Municipality of Rotterdam and the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) have decided to terminate the appointment of Dr Tariq Ramadan. His contract with the city and his guest professorship in Citizenship and Identity at the EUR will be ended, it has been decided by the Municipal Executive and the Executive Board of the EUR. The reason for this is his involvement in the Iranian television channel Press TV, which is considered to be irreconcilable with his positions in Rotterdam.

For some time now, Tariq Ramadan has been hosting the television programme Islam & Life on Press TV. Press TV is a channel financed by the Iranian government. The excessive force used by this government in June against demonstrators, many of whom were students, prompted a number of journalists to cut their ties with the channel. However, Tariq Ramadan chose not to do so, and has since justified his decision in a statement.

Although there is no doubt at all concerning Dr Ramadan’s personal dedication, both boards found this indirect relationship with a repressive regime, or even the impression of being associated with it, not to be acceptable.

They are of the view that, in his decision to continue participating, Dr Ramadan failed to sufficiently realise the feelings that participation in this television programme, which is supported by the Iranian government, might provoke in Rotterdam and beyond. This has become particularly acute, especially now that he has continued to participate in this programme even after the elections in Iran, when authorities there hard-handedly stifled the freedom of expression in that country.

Given the fact that Dr Ramadan did not immediately and unambiguously end the relationship with Press TV on his own initiative, both boards cannot but conclude that there is no longer the essential public support for the contribution to the city and the university and that the credibility of Dr Ramadan’s continued work for the city and the university has suffered lasting damage.

The Municipal Executive and the Executive Board of the EUR regret having to have taken this decision. Dr Ramadan has performed well in his two positions over the past two and a half years. His contribution has been experienced as being stimulating by his many listeners and discussion partners. Both bodies would therefore like to emphatically state that this decision has nothing to do with the performance of Dr Ramadan in Rotterdam.

That, of course, is the same Press TV which still employs George Galloway.

(Hat tip: Lbnaz)

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