Tariq Ramadan to Give the Orwell Lecture: the Shame

This is a cross post from Tendance Coatesy


Frère Tariq Feels Qualified to Give Orwell Lecture.

Hat-tip NC.

This year’s Orwell Lecture will be given by Professor Tariq Ramadan of Oxford University on ‘Democratising the Middle East: A New Role for the West’ on the evening of Tuesday 12th November. The event will take place at the new venue of University College London.

More information here.

Here are some extracts from our posts about frère Tariq,

Ramadan’s inability to adopt secular values has come to the fore, as the Flight notes, in his tortuous calls for a “moratorium “ on the most severe Sharia punishments, the “huddud” – the death penalty for apostasy, the stoning of adulterers, the amputation of the limbs of thieves, and other ‘laws’.

That is before we go further into different Islamic ‘legal schools’ and their versions of these and the vengeance of the Muslim talion. The fact that women and non-Muslims count for less than Muslim men in these religious ‘courts’ casts doubt on the credentials of anyone who considers them just. There is no equality before the law in Islamic ‘jurisprudence’.

This came to a head on French television in 2003. The future French president, Nicolas Sarkozy confronted the future Oxford Don. Ramadan refused to condemn these punishments, specifically on stoning miscreant women, arguing that a “consensus” amongst scholars and the Muslim community had to be reached on the subject before anything more than a temporary halt could be called for.

Ramadan simply would not denounce stoning outright. We could then see, “The whole panorama of Muslim women’s oppression suddenly deployed across the television screens of France…”(Ibid) (Post: 2011)


Review. What I Believe. Tariq Ramadan. Oxford University Press. 2009. (Post 2009)

Tariq Ramadan is a “controversial intellectual”. He faces “many-sided opposition”. The soft-spoken supporter of “solidarity, human dignity, and justice” is accused of “doublespeak”. “Criticisms first of (and mainly in) France, then taken up by some French loving groups of some ideological currents, have built up a haze of controversy around me and my commitment.” He asks, “What are the “ideological and/or interests” of these groups?” Not too savoury, as we shall see. He, by contrast, tries to “build bridges between two universes of reference”, “Western and Islamic ‘civilisations’” “and “between citizens within Western societies themselves”.

The book’s contribution to this “process of mediation”? It’s an “opportunity to read me in the original and simply get direct access to my thought”. To show that we “share many common principles and values”. That it is possible to ‘live together’” (all liberal English Anglian inverted commas Ramadan’s). That he belongs to a “reformist trend” within Islam. Which is? A “great and noble religion.”

To counter this, he claims, the religion’s contribution deserves a larger place in the culture. Revised syllabi, he argues, may help. There needs more mention of Muslim thinkers, from al-Kindî (ninth century), al-Ghazâlî (twelfth century) to Ibn Khaldûm (fourteenth century) To rival no doubt the attention already given in Europe’s school trivium to Thomas Aquinas, Dun Scotus, and Anselm of Canterbury.

That in “my Sharia” “all the laws that protect human life and dignity, promote justice and equality, enforce respect of Nature, and so on” are part of the “way to faithfulness to Islam’s objectives”. Take what is true to this, and, as for the rest, well we are not sure. Applied to law and jurisprudence he argues for “radical reform”. Of what? There are plenty of ‘controversial’ parts of the Sharia, throughout all the different schools of Islamic ‘law’. Quite a few subjects for a would-be reformer. Including the Hudud ‘claims of God’ – punishments against Theft, Highway Robbery, Extra-Martial Sex, Apostasy and so on.

These – applied in many countries under what at least some scholars call the Sharia (many with as strong qualifications as Ramadan) are renowned for what we shall call in non-clericalese, obscenity and brutality.

The laws categorised as Qisas, “eye for an eye” (the law of the Talion) are not mild either. In these what exactly is a matter of custom, tradition,  and of divine law?

Sometimes a particularly weaselly attempt is made to say that the Sharia will only really exist in a ‘pure’ Islamic society, with no penalties being carried out – presumably as there will be no theft, no sexual impropriety, no unbelief, and indeed no crime whatsoever.

Ramadan does not provide an answer to how to separate custom from divine legislation. More modestly he once made a call for a ‘moratorium’ (not abolition) on many of the harshest Islamic penalties.

This request doesn’t get a mention here. The idea was dropped without support. What happened on the Way? Did it not shine a light on Ramadan’s reforming path that others may follow? What are his proposals now?

Tariq Ramadan,  faces a new crisis (here). This time it’s in Holland. (Post 2009)

Ramadan is employed part-time as an Adviser by Rotterdam City Council. His role is to  ’stimulate discussion” on immigration and to ’build bridges’ with the Dutch Muslim community.  At the pay of  27 500 Euros a year he does two days a month work, has produced two reports and has led some public debates. This adds to Ramadan’s active presence in various guises across the world: in France, Switzerland, and elsewhere. Which includes the  United Kingdom where  he has an academic reputation, and is fêted by Conservatives, New Labour,  multi-culturalists and Islamophiles alike.

According to Le Monde this week Ramadan stands accused by the magazine Gay Krant of homophobic and sexist comments.

Ramadan aurait déclaré que l’islam prohibait l’homosexualité, laquelle serait “un dérangement, un dysfonctionnement, un déséquilibre”“Dieu a fixé une norme qui veut qu’un homme soit destiné à une femme et une femme à un homme”, aurait aussi indiqué le philosophe.

Ramadan is alleged to have declared that Islam prohibits homosexuality, which is ‘a disorder, a disequilibrium, a disfunction’. He is also said to have declared that ‘God has fixed a norm that means a man is intended for a woman, and a  woman for a man’.

Regarding women’s public appearance he recommended that they take less care of their appearance, and behave with modesty (soberly). In the street, they should “garder toujours les yeux fixés sur le bitume” (keep their eyes fixed on the pavement).

Reactions to these reported remarks  have hit Rotterdam Council. An enquiry has been launched. The comments are alternatively denied or considered taken “out of context”. The Islamist has been defended by the Green Party, whose Rik Grashof holds the  portfolio of Integration. he has declared that even if Ramadan is opposed to homosexuality he gives priority to “respect for people.”

In France long-standing secular critics of Ramadan place these remarks in context (here). Caroline Fourrest remarks that  ’Brother Tariq’,  praised as a religious progressive, has more in common with Jerry Falwell than Martin Luther King. In brief his comments are par for the course. While the Council has (here) apparently ‘exornerated’ Ramadan, the controversy rumbles on.