While Tariq Ramadan is still waiting for his trial in Paris, following the accusations of violent and repeated rape by four women, he appears to be holding up well. He’s still receiving, thanks to the Emir of Qatar, about half a million dollars a year; he and his wife have bought two luxury apartments in Paris; he continues to flog his books on Islam on the Internet. But he is no longer a member of the Oxford faculty. He has a pseudo-job — a sinecure – holding occasional classes at the Al-Khalifa University in Qatar. Ramadan is no longer being hailed as a “towering intellect” and a “leading Islamic scholar.” One more time: In 2000, TIME called Tariq Ramadan “one of the seven most important religious innovators” of the 21st century; in 2004, the magazine named Ramadan as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” Not any more. And in Internet polls, Foreign Policy magazine listed Ramadan as one of the “100 top global thinkers” in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012, but now that so-called “global thinker” is regarded with amusement and disgust. No more invitations for Ramadan to speak around the world on “Islam and ethics.” No more invitations to give TED Talks, or to speak throughout Europe and North America, in his seductive, velvety voice, about the misplaced fears of Islam, and of Muslims, in the West.
Of course there are those who criticize Ramadan for reasons other than very likely being a violent rapist. In her book, Frère Tariq, Caroline Fourest claimed to have analyzed Tariq Ramadan’s 15 books, 1,500 pages of interviews, and approximately 100 recordings, and concludes “Ramadan is a war leader,” an “islamist” and the “political heir of his grandfather,” Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Fourest concluded that his discourse is “often just a repetition of the discourse that Banna had at the beginning of the 20th century in Egypt,” and that he “presents [al-Banna] as a model to be followed.” She argues that “Tariq Ramadan is slippery. He says one thing to his faithful Muslim followers and something else entirely to his Western audience. His choice of words, the formulations he uses – even his tone of voice – vary, chameleon-like, according to his audience.”
The former head of the French antiracism organization SOS Racisme, Malek Boutih, has been quoted as saying to Ramadan, after talking with him at length: “Mr. Ramadan, you are a fascist.” In an interview with Europe 1, Malek Boutih also likened Ramadan to “a small Le Pen.” in another interview he accused him of having crossed the line of racism and antisemitism. Bertrand Delanoë, a former mayor of Paris, declared Ramadan unfit to participate at the European Social Forum, as not even “a slight suspicion of anti-Semitism” would be tolerable. Talking to the Paris weekly Marianne, Fadela Amara, president of Ni Putes Ni Soumises (Neither Whores Nor Submissive, a French feminist movement), Aurélie Filippetti, municipal counsellor for The Greens in Paris, Patrick Klugman, leading member of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France, and Dominique Sopo, head of SOS Racisme, accuse Ramadan of having misused the alter-globalization movement’s ingenuousness to advance his own “radicalism and anti-Semitism.” The Egyptian intellectual Tarek Heggy has, like Caroline Fourest, also charged Ramadan with saying different things to different audiences. Other criticisms have included claims that an essay attacking French intellectuals was antisemitic, for all six of the intellectuals he selected for attack were Jewish. Ramadan has also been attacked for showing excessive generosity in his rationalization of the motives behind acts of terrorism, such as in the case of Mohammed Merah. Merah, for whom Ramadan showed such understanding and sympathy, is the terrorist who murdered a rabbi, the rabbi’s two little sons, aged 3 and 5, and an 8-year-old Jewish girl, all of them killed just outside a Jewish school in Toulouse.
Olivier Guitta, a student of Islamic terrorism, welcomed the U.S. decision to refuse Ramadan a visa, based on Ramadan’s supposed links to terrorist organizations, and claimed that Ramadan’s father was the likely author of “‘The Project’… a roadmap for installing Islamic regimes in the West by propaganda, preaching, and war.” Guitta also criticized Ramadan for his campaign to shut down the performance of Voltaire’s play Mahomet in Geneva, because of Voltaire’s description of Mohammed as an “impostor.”
But don’t worry. Ramadan hasn’t let little things like an impending trial for rape get him down. He’s been writing, though not nearly as prolifically as before the scandal. He’s been publishing the same book under different titles: “Islam: An Introduction” and “Islam: The Essentials.” (A new edition is coming out this month). “Islamic Ethics.” “Ethics and Islam.” “Religion, Ethics, and Islam.” Mix-n’-match. In December 2021, he’s coming out with a new edition of “Islam: The Essentials.”He’s also been giving talks to the faithful on Deen TV. And he’s been producing audiotapes for distribution to his True Believers, who dismiss all the accusations made against him as slander spread by Infidels, especially by the French Jewish intellectuals Ramadan has taken to attacking so often, and whom he portrays as feeling threatened by such an articulate defender of the faith as he knows himself to be.
Now Tariq Ramadan has been emphasizing a new side of his multi-talented self: he’s become a songwriter and.a singer. His songs appear to have only two themes. The first is self-pity: how badly have the French treated him, with their false accusations of rape, that they employ in their attempts to destroy him. The second is the sheer horror of how the “whites,” the colonialists, the exploiters, have treated the inoffensive Muslims of the world.
Here’s a sample of his haunting lyrics:
You’ve been stealing and lying for centuries.
You would have come, you say, to civilize us.
You have despised our languages, our cultures, our religions, humiliated our memories, sullied our traditions
Before resuming the song in chorus:
But what do you think?
That we’re going to sit there and watch you?
Plunder our lands, our wealth, our minerals?
Let yourself quietly write history and colonize it?
Either you share, or we will help each other
Then come the thinly veiled threats:
Either share, or we’ll help ourselves!”
Peoples are going through misery, remain proud and worthy, and, even, they multiply.
Your order and your borders will not get the better of our youth, even less of life, he pontificates.
Tomorrow, in your streets, we will walk, free and serene.
Tomorrow, hear, fraternity and diversity will be the only guarantors of your security.
Are you afraid?
Are you going to lose your privileges and your identity?
The mix would be your loss and soon you will be savagely replaced?
Sleep in peace, friends of equality, we have come neither to replace nor to steal.
Beyond the colors, the religions, we are good news, a wind of freedom.
And in Ramadan’s “Devoir de Dire La Verite” (The Duty of Telling the Truth), here are some glosses on the song above, to be found in the chapter titled “Political Prisoner”:
France is still a prisoner of its imperial aspirations and its dominating inclinations: it has settled neither the question of colonialism, nor that of xenophobia and of racism.
Listing white personalities accused of rape, he still wondered:
How is it that I am the only one in prison, an ‘Arab’, of course, a ‘Muslim’, whose biggest fault is undoubtedly to embarrass the political class and the French intellectuals?
Ramadan has a deep loathing for French and Western society, which originates from his grandfather’s Muslim Brotherhood. For Henda Ayari, the first woman to have accused him of rape, “Tariq Ramadan’s strategy is to recover his popularity and the support of people of immigrant origin, in particular Muslims, by standing up as the protector of Muslims against the “bad French racists and Islamophobes.”
The writer Mohamed Sifaoui, the director of publication of the Islamoscope.tv platform, also sees Ramadan making a crude attempt at “marketing” his hatred of the French:
Ramadan has a deep loathing for French and Western society, which is also specific to the Muslim Brotherhood. This resentment was accentuated with [sic] his time in prison.
Despite these words which seek to seduce the Islamo-leftists, it will be very difficult for him to bounce back: he is now vomited by all those who were his followers yesterday.
I don’t think Ramadan’s songs, all of them more or less in the repulsively tedious vein of the one I’ve inflicted on you above – will be in the running for a Grammy any time soon. But the full idiocy of his limitless resentment against the West, his self-pity (Ramadan calls himself a “political prisoner”), and his menacing remarks addressed to the French Infidels — “either share, or we’ll help ourselves” — ought not to be overlooked merely because his long career as a sex criminal overshadows all else.
It’s long past time — we’ve been waiting for several years — for Ramadan to be finally put on trial on charges of rape. I trust that the judges are not being delayed in doing their duty by political pressure applied by Qatar on the French government. Tariq Ramadan, the “towering intellect” and “leading Islamic scholar,” the one described in 2000 by TIME as “one of the seven most important religious innovators” of the 21st century and was again named by TIME in 2004 as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World Today, the very same Tariq Ramadan whom Foreign Policy magazine listed as one of the “100 top global thinkers” in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012, will never again be put on a list of the Global Great and Good.
What Tariq Ramadan, the “towering intellect” who is a writer, ethicist, journalist, professor, scholar of Islam, philosopher, and now songwriter and singer as well, can look forward to — if justice is done — is quite other: a sentence on each count of aggravated rape of 10 to 20 years. And those sentences will be served, one hopes, consecutively.