No to Tariq Ramadan
by Stephen Schwartz
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has lifted the visa ban on the European theoretician of radical Islam and virtuoso Jew-baiter, Tariq Ramadan, allowing him to take up a position similar to that he was offered at Notre Dame University, but which was filled because of his unavailability. At the same time, a U.S. entry prohibition against a South African leftist, Adam Habib of Johannesburg University, was voided.
The decision to admit Tariq Ramadan is profoundly wrong. Adam Habib is an innocuous figure. Tariq Ramadan is not.
Ramadan was first barred from the U.S. in 2004, under the U.S. Patriot Act. As described in a predictably smarmy reportage by The New York Times on Wednesday, January 20, Ramadan was excluded at that time for contributing to a so-called charity that supported Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization. Ramadan claimed he thought the group to which he donated was not so connected, and that he has repeatedly denounced terrorism. In reality, the denial of his visa was based on his assistance to two Hamas fronts, the Palestinian Welfare and Aid Committee (Comité de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens or CBSP) and the Palestinian Aid Association (Association Secours Palestinien). The latter is related to CBSP, which was designated by the U.S. Treasury as a terror financier in 2002.
Ramadan's dodging on this issue is typical of him, but there remains a great deal of evidence, from his own mouth and pen, that he should continue to be kept out of the U.S. He was born in Switzerland, the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the radical, fundamentalist Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Notwithstanding his Swiss nationality, he seems not to know that country very well -- or, at least, is more motivated by his spleen against Jews, whom he intimated, in his slippery fashion, were to blame for the recent successful Swiss anti-minaret referendum. Ramadan wrote in the London Guardian that the backers of the referendum "wanted first to launch a campaign against the traditional Islamic methods of slaughtering animals but were afraid of testing the sensitivity of Swiss Jews, and instead turned their sights on the minaret as a suitable symbol." [Kosher and halal butchery laws are very similar -- CIP note.]
Late last year Ramadan was dismissed from posts as a Rotterdam municipal adviser and Rotterdam Erasmus University lecturer for continuing a weekly program on the Iranian government's international television channel, PressTV. Europeans, more than Americans, wanted to express meaningful solidarity with the mass of protestors against the manipulated presidential election in Iran, and considered Ramadan's continued involvement with PressTV a disqualifying aspect of his resume. The Obama administration's indifference to this point, given its weak approach to the clerical dictatorship in Tehran, might have been predictable.
Ramadan is additionally objectionable because of his close relationship with the fundamentalist cleric and Shariah promoter Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. Al-Qaradawi, one of the most retrograde representatives of the Muslim intellect today, justifies female genital mutilation, a rare position for an Islamic cleric to adopt openly. He also supports terrorism against Israel, and recently proclaimed that Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, should be stoned to death in Mecca based on allegations that Abbas incited Israel to act militarily against Hamas in Gaza.
Ramadan cooperates with Al-Qaradawi in the so-called European Council for Fatwas and Research (ECFR), which claims religio-legal authority over all Muslims living in Europe. Ramadan's support for Al-Qaradawi demonstrates that Ramadan's alleged repudiation of terrorism is hypocritical. A 2009 report by my organization, the Center for Islamic Pluralism, titled A Guide to Shariah Law and Islamist Ideology in Western Europe, 2007-09, includes a thorough examination of ECFR's role in demands for a "parallel Shariah" that would apply to Muslims in Europe, in anticipation of a continent-wide Islamization.
Although Ramadan has attained status as a "Muslim rock star" in Britain, the latter country bars Al-Qaradawi from entry because of his extremism. Although Al-Qaradawi and Ramadan have their differences, their ideology is the same. Academic freedom is widely used as a pretext for protecting radical Islam in the West. Guaranteeing the liberty of those who want to exploit freedom to destroy it must end.
The State Department should withdraw its authorization for Ramadan's entry to the U.S. now.