Tariq Ramadan, Europe's slickest Islamist, is set to appear in the United States for the first time since the Obama administration lifted a six-year-old entrance ban — imposed not to muzzle speech, as is often claimed, but because of donations he had sent to Hamas-funding charities.
His welcome-back gig is Secularism, Islam, and Democracy: Muslims in Europe and the West, a four-way panel discussion at New York City's Cooper Union on Thursday, April 8. The event purports to explore questions about "a clash of values between secularism and Islam and between freedom of expression and freedom of religion." Important issues. Yet beyond George Packer, a generally fair-minded New Yorker columnist, the panel is stacked with radicals and their friends:
Tariq Ramadan may be lauded as a Muslim "reformer," but his type of reform is closer to the Islamist version laid out by his grandfather, Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna. When one removes his carefully crafted doublespeak about tolerance and diversity, a disturbing portrait of the Oxford professor emerges: Ramadan finds nothing to reject in al-Banna's supremacist ideas; he has been accused of links to terrorists; he 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.
Dalia Mogahed, another panelist, runs the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and serves on Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, where she arrogates to herself the role of "convey[ing] … what it is Muslims want." A promoter of the canard that America is rife with Islamophobia, she coauthored Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think, which has been slammed for artificially minimizing the fraction of radical Muslims. In 2009, Mogahed was a guest on Muslimah Dilemma, a show on the UK's extremist-heavy Islam Channel. Interviewed by a Hizb-ut-Tahrir member, Mogahed stated that "the majority of women around the world associate gender justice, or justice for women, with Shari'a compliance." Moreover, she offered no defense of liberal democracy when it came under attack.
Joan Wallach Scott, a leftist professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, completes the panel. In her former position as chair of the academic freedom committee of the American Association of University Professors, she protested the firing of jihadist operative Sami al-Arian and dismissed critics of Middle East studies as a "well-organized," "pro-occupation lobby." Scott also compared David Horowitz's anti-indoctrination campaign to the work of Nazis, while laughably asserting that "there is no lack of balance in the academy as a whole."
She probably sees "no lack of balance" on the Cooper Union panel either. However, IW does see one and encourages concerned citizens to attend (Thursday, April 8, 7:00 p.m.; details here) and challenge panelists with questions that they would rather be left unasked. Activists led by Lorna Salzman also plan to educate audience members about the speakers; anybody interested in helping may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-522-0253.