The Return of Tariq Ramadan

Islamic apologist Tariq Ramadan has returned to the U.S., the ban against his entry to the country, issued under the Patriot Act, having been lifted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After addressing audiences in New York, Chicago, Detroit and Washington, he will revisit Canada where he will speak at the Palais de Congrès in Montreal. The question is: What is he really up to? Ramadan is used to meeting with rock star type adulation, but a skeptical attitude may be rather more appropriate.

In a talk given at Olivieri Bookstore in Montreal on January 3, 2007 to promote his book La tyrannie de la pénitence, philosopher Pascal Bruckner argued that the failure of Muslim immigrants to integrate into European society is owing largely to the multicultural tendency to promote special interest groups and extraterritorial ethnicities. At the same time, as Bruckner stresses in the book itself, “On oublie qu’il existe un despotisme des minorités rétives à l’assimilation si celle-ci n’accompangne pas d’un statut d’extraterritorialité.” (“We forget that there exists a despotism of minorities that resists assimilation if the latter is not accompanied by a status of extraterritoriality.”)

This “resistance” is precisely the situation that Tariq Ramadan is attempting to remedy, but in a way that does not augur well for the host societies of the West. Pulpiting the ideal of Muslim social integration and positing a supposed underlying affinity between what are clearly two opposing creeds and cultures, Ramadan intends something very different from what we usually understand by “assimilation” and “accommodation.” Assimilation for Ramadan really works in reverse and means, in effect, the gradual absorption of the West into the social and political construct of Islam. Accommodation seems to imply mutuality but, again, its ultimate aim is somewhat different from what we might expect. Accommodation is what must presently be accorded to the Muslim community, which may in the course of time graciously accommodate us in turn should we convert to the faith or pay the jizzya (poll tax). Ramadan’s discourse sounds at first like he’s using a terminology of reconciliation but it’s all bling and glitz meant to embroider an ulterior purpose, something initially nebulous but no less sinister for all that. Ramadan’s agenda is not to enlighten but to distract.

Thus he is heavily into the redefinition of certain pivotal terms as they enter the mainstream discussion in order to advance the political structure he is advocating. At a French language public lecture delivered at the Université de Montréal on November 6, 2009, he closed on what he called the “three L’s” Muslims are enjoined to grasp and manipulate, translated from the French as: “the language of the country you live in, the knowledge of the legal framework…[and] loyalty.” Though his lexicon of choice appears inoffensive at first blush, it is the epitome of equivocation. The subtext of the passage is obvious to anyone who has tracked Ramadan’s modus operandi. The knowledge of language and law is necessary to further the Islamic cause to which, it is implicitly understood, Muslims are required to be loyal.

As political commentator and founder of the Point de bascule (English: The Tipping Point) website, Marc Lebuis, sees it, Ramadan “basically ‘participates’ in the democratic process only to redefine our classical liberal definition of citizenship with the intent to Islamize our institutions” (personal communication). Similarly, Quebec parliamentarian, Fatima Houda-Pepin, campaigning against the introduction of shari’a law into the body politic, warned: “One of the strengths of Islamists is that they know you very well. They know our history, they know our culture, they know our justice system.” This is uniquely the case with Ramadan, whose real purpose is to move Muslim immigrant society from the ghetto into the citadel, from a “status of extraterritoriality” into the nucleus of the public domain, where it will eventually proceed not to integrate but to dominate.

For Ramadan, therefore, “reconciliation” is not a coming-to-terms between Islamic particularism and Western multicultural hospitality, but a way of insinuating Islamic law, custom and usage into the center of Western public and institutional space. As he proposes in Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, Muslims must bring “the overall philosophy of the Islamic message” into Western education, assuming “their Islamic frame of reference as a starting point.” Non-Islamic readers who might be alarmed at his thesis are assured that Islam is a Western religion, that Islam’s major philosophers are really “European Muslim thinkers,” and, to clinch the matter, that Islam is perfectly compatible with Western norms and values.

The facts suggest otherwise, whether we are considering the imperious summons to violence in the pages of the Koran and the Hadith, the undoubted truth, as Samuel Huntington put it in The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order, that “the borders of Islam are bloody,” the tradition of gender apartheid in the Islamic world or the incidence of domestic terrorist attacks upon non-combatant citizens. All this is hidden under Ramadan’s thick impasto. One must observe him closely, follow his discursive peregrinations, catch him in those unguarded moments and occasional slip-ups when he gives the game away and his shadowy gospel begins to emerge.

To take just a few examples. Speaking before a captivated audience, he refers to a hypothetical encounter with a Muslim American who believes Islam is in a state of war with the West, which justifies the deployment of ruse or deceit. Ramadan replies to his fictive interlocutor: “la ruse en temps de guerre, bien sur” (“ruse in a time of war, quite certainly”). Since this is also a war of words and images, as he goes on to emphasize, the language of ambiguity, which he calls a “double discours,” is essential. Of course, skilled casuist that he is, he tends to bob and weave, alluding to the importance of the social contract in an era of peace. But the implication is undeniable. At other times, he will become transparently insistent, as at the above-mentioned conference at the Université de Montréal. Irritated by a probing question—according to Le Presse columnist Nathalie Petrowski—he was suddenly transformed into a fundamentalist preacher, “stressing the virtues of modesty in clothing and denouncing Western vulgarity…and shameless sexuality.” Here it is not even a question of tonal innuendo or conjectural illustrations but of direct utterance. Interestingly, Rotterdam’s city administration has recently recognized the discrepancy between Ramadan’s self-presentation and his deeper convictions, dismissing him from his post as an adviser on civic integration when it surfaced that he was hosting a weekly show for Iranian TV.

Little by little, the kliegs of disclosure are being switched on, revealing a virtuoso of duplicity at work—at least for those not blinded by poor judgment, intellectual laziness or an ideological parti pris. As David Rusin writes in Islamist Watch, Ramadan “has justified bombings in Israel, Russia, and Iraq as legitimate resistance; he went no further than calling for a “moratorium” against stoning while the practice is debated; he supports restrictions on the public lives of women; he demands that integration take place on Muslims’ terms; he led a boycott against the 2008 Turin Book Fair because it honored Israel; and on and on. He is no moderate; he is a master of taqiyya.”

Taqiyya is a Koranic concept which sanctions various forms of lying under certain prescribed conditions: self-defense (Koran 3:28) or coercion (Koran 16: 104-110). The latter passage guarantees that “those who are forced to recant while their hearts remain loyal to the faith shall be absolved.” But the principle has been expanded to apply to a multitude of disparate situations in which deceit is justified to attain approved ends, as in the prototypical ten-year Treaty of Hudaybiya in 628 C.E.,  which Muhammad ratified with his Meccan enemies and broke two years later when he judged his military strength sufficient to the task of conquest. War is deceit, Muhammad famously said (Bukhari hadith 52: 269) and the Koran also informs us that “Allah is the supreme Plotter,” variously translated as the “best of planners” and “the Best of Schemers” (3:55), depending on which English edition of the Koran we are consulting. But we get the point.

Taqiyya is alive and well in the contemporary world among the bearers of the Islamic message. In the words of Raymond Ibrahim, director of the Middle East Forum: “the doctrine of taqiyya goes far beyond Muslims engaging in religious dissimulation in the interest of self-preservation and encompasses deception of the infidel enemy in general… Islamic law unambiguously splits the world into two perpetually warring halves—the Islamic world versus the non-Islamic—and holds it to be God’s will for the former to subsume the latter. Yet if war with the infidel is a perpetual affair, if war is deceit, and if deeds are justified by intentions—any number of Muslims will naturally conclude that they have a divinely sanctioned right to deceive, so long as they believe their deception serves to aid Islam.” For, he continues, “from an Islamic point of view, times of peace—that is, whenever Islam is significantly weaker than its infidel rivals—are times of feigned peace and pretense, in a word, taqiyya.”

Acts of blatant terrorism, of course, are by no means ruled out, but terrorism need no longer be exclusively violent. The jihad against the West has now adopted a double strategy. Along with its standard method of spreading fear and destruction among civilian populations at large, it has conscripted to its cause a new breed of ostensibly peaceable ambassadors, smooth talkers, subtle academics and spiffy front men, summed up in the présence muselmane of Tariq Ramadan.

For one thing, his personal manner, plausible, urbane, eloquent, affable, is tailored to reassure and convince. One recalls the insight that Hamlet sets down in his tables: “one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.” For another, most of the time Ramadan’s textual vehicle just purrs nicely along in cruise control so the reader, lulled into a kind of waking coma, can appreciate the pleasant scenery rolling by, unaware that he is heading for a collision. Aside from such instances as those flagged above, there is little in Ramadan’s public appearances or voluminous writings that resembles what in the auto industry is acronymed NVH—“noise, vibration, harshness.” On the contrary, Tariq Ramadan is a wizard of the art of, let’s say, DBD—deft, buttoned-down dissimulation. He is quite simply the best in the field. Anyone who doubts this should remark his performance as a guest on the French TV-5 program On n’est pas couché, where he reduces a panel of experts to something akin to prostration. He plies the very summa and distillation of taqiyya, so much so that I’m tempted to call it tariqiyya.

And many of us have fallen for it big time, succumbing to the boiling frog syndrome as the water heats up slowly so that we remain comfortably in the pot. One way or another, we have become—to use Plutarch’s term in his denunciation of Herodotus whom he thought too lenient toward the enemy—philobarbaros, a friend to the barbarians, allies of those who would subdue us. As Plutarch writes in The Malice of Herodotus, “Deceitful are the phrases, deceitful the figures of Herodotus’s speeches, unsound and full of ambiguities.” This charge may or may not be true with respect to Herodotus but it certainly seems apposite with regard to Ramadan. His technique and influence are succinctly described on the Canucki Jihad website: “Tariq Ramadan is like a virus hidden inside an email.” And we have been infected. On the one hand bedazzled by his swank delivery, on the other consumed by a sense of our own exalted tolerance of the “other,” we have generally failed to detect what lurks beneath his rhetoric.

Indeed, too many of us do not seem able to comprehend that the variety of terrorism now operating on the international stage is something completely unprecedented in the unrestricted nature of its scope, the global extent of its funding, the deep dye of theological pigmentation and its flaunting of the rules of engagement. But its most potent weapon in the so-called asymmetrical war that Islam is waging against the Christian and secular West is an insidious form of persuasion that both clouds the mind and corrupts the will of its human targets. It is as if we are participating in a festival of self-immolation.

This, it seems, is the way in which we celebrate Ramadan.

  • from london

    Open letter to Tariq Ramadan… You have to know

  • Gary Rumain

    The gates of Vienna blog has an article by a Danish psychologist about the reluctance of arselifters to integrate –
    I'd recommend it to anyone interested in that topic.

  • Gary Rumain

    The gates of Vienna blog has an article by a Danish psychologist about the reluctance of arselifters to integrate –
    I'd recommend it to anyone interested in that topic.

  • cheese_burger

    From the article:

    Irritated by a probing question—according to Le Presse columnist Nathalie Petrowski—he was suddenly transformed into a fundamentalist preacher, “stressing the virtues of modesty in clothing and denouncing Western vulgarity…and shameless sexuality.”

    It is amusing to see a Muslim criticising anyone for ‘shameless sexuality’.

    Was the Monster that Islam calls ‘Prophet’ not a child rapist?

    Are all Muslim Males not commanded by Islam to emulate the Monster they call ‘Prophet’, as the Perfect Example, for All Times?

    So, Ramadan, do you not rape little girls (or boys) in the name of the thing you call God?

    If you do not follow your Evil Master’s example, then you literally spit in His face.

    As with all Muslims, Ramadan is incapable of even mumbling the truth.

    Unfortunately for Ramadan, and all Muslims, the Islamic Trilogy is free for the grabbing, on-line.

    The more Muslims lie, the more they are rightly despised.

    • The Reality Show.

      With all due respect to Christians, who are the people of the book .
      The only rapists I & the world knows about are the Popes, Archdiases & Leaders of the church .It is not their mistake though since they are forbidden from marriage or have a legitimate sexual relationships. Have to have an outlet somehow, so they utilize little alter boys & girls for sexual molestation.
      Isnt it a norm in churches.

  • grog

    The reason Obama let him back in the USA is to eventually bring him into the top levels of the administration. – wait and see.

  • grog

    The reason Obama let him back into the USA is to eventually work him into the top levels of the administration- wait and see

  • Paul Beaird

    The matter is a simple one. If it is Arab, it is not your friend. That is neither a racial, nor an ethnic comment. It is a cultural and religious comment. The sons and daughters of Abraham have all had their day to forcibly subdue human populations. It is time to tame Islam. . .or destroy it.

  • Samurai Hit Woman

    people should realize which master they are serving through judging a tree, or idea, by its fruits. Good does not produce evil nor evil good. Satan does his work through people, who serve him whether these people realize they are servants of the master of deceit and hate or not.

    Christian scripture admonishes Christians to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
    This is because both Jews and Christians worship the same God, a God who cares about Jerusalem, and Allah is not that God.

    For instance, Allah demands Allah’s law should prevail everywhere. But the God of Christians and Jews instructs there be a separation of church and state, making render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar and to God the things that are God’s, a value shared by both Jews and Christians while the Muslims kill (killing is forbidden by the Judeo-Christian God) as a religious duty to establish Allah’s laws.

    So who this man of deceit is serving the master of deceit, who is the master of Islam as well.

  • Zooey

    Obama didn't "bring" Tariq Ramadan to the USA. A Federal judge found that Mr Ramadan was not afforded his right to a hearing by the State Dept officer in charge of issuing his visa. That's the law and it wasn't observed. Besides, the two charities to which Mr Ramadan contributed were not listed as "terrorist" by the US government until years after he contributed to these charities. If the US didn't know these charities were "terrorist" then how could Mr Ramadan??

  • jewdog

    Would you buy a used Koran from that man?

  • Marty

    ramadan is a liar and a fraud who has expressed doubt that osama bin laden is responsible for 9/11 and refused to condemn the murder of defenseless men, women, and children by islamic terrorists. He's an apologist for violent islamism and a good one at that.

    • the reality show

      Wait 25-30 years & you'll find who really did the 9/11 ,the only benefeciaries of the attack are the Jews.
      It will be in the newspapers in the US & around the world in not longer than 30 yrs.
      Muslims are the biggest victims of 9/11 .More than 4-million innocent muslims killed
      around the world. Three countries sent to the stone ages .
      We are sad that innocent people were killed in the US , but consider the ratio.
      400,0000/4000 . Who is the real victim.
      Jews are having a Ball on this one.

  • Sofia

    I have been Tariq Ramadan's mistress for many years until I discovered he had many others women. He has been violent and wants to do things "haram" (forbidden) . Then he threatens you if you dare talk… I have all his messages and emails. The world will know one day, a woman will get bitten hard enough to sue him… if you speak french: or read "open letter to Tariq Ramadan:

    • Najma

      Sofia, salam, what you write is disturbing and sad..
      Why do people spend so much time, energy and effort into preaching the values and laws of Islam while violating them with fervour and repeatedly in private. The knowledge of a scholar if he doesn't implement it, will go against him. And for a Muslim married man, a so called scholar of Islam to betray his wife seducing single women who want marriage with bad intention to do haram is shocking and very disappopinting. Women must be smarter and not fall for married men! No matter how attractive- they are bad news! Where can I read your open letter?
      Salam from your sister

      • Layla

        You were definitely not the only one! :)

  • sophia

    Professor Ramadan is not an apologist. He is an intellect and brave enough to say what he thinks which is more than what most people do.