At a certain point, it becomes nearly impossible to give Tariq Ramadan the benefit of the doubt. His recent description of his grandfather and founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, as an anti-colonialist and an anti-fascist is so demonstrably false that one has to wonder just how stupid Ramadan thinks Westerners are.
Does he think we have no translations of his grandfather's writings? Does he think we have no libraries where we can get our hands on these translations? Does he not know that when he makes outragous claims about Hassan al-Banna's alleged enmity toward colonialism and fascism that these claims will be checked by people who will actually, you know, read what al-Banna has written?
At the risk of boring our readers, Snapshots is providing yet another gem from the writings of Hassan al-Banna as translated by Charles Wendell, mentioned previously. In this passage, al-Banna expresses admiration for Adolf Hitler.
In an essay titled "To What Do We Summon Mankind?" al-Banna invokes Hitler to demonstrate the power of "patience, steadfastness, wisdom, and persistence" to bring weak political movements with "feeble resources" to the "pinnacle of success and fortune their leaders were hoping for." After listing the success of a few Muslim leaders to demonstrate this truth, al Banna writes:
And who would have believed that that German workingman, Hitler, would ever attain such influence and as successful realization of his aims as he has?
In his analysis of this quote in Flight of the Intellectuals, Paul Berman writes accurately "Hitler was the only non-Muslim name in al-Banna's list of exemplary models."
In other venues, Frere Tariq has argued that he should not be held accountable for his grandfather's writings, despite his tendency to lay claim to al-Banna's legacy before sympathetic audiences. (This tendency is well documented by Caroline Fourest, in her text Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan.)
The issue is not whether or not Ramadan should be blamed for his grandfather's writings. The question is why Frere Tariq offered such a distorted and whitewashed view of the Muslim Brotherhood's founder? Ramadan was the one who brought al-Banna into the discussion in his New York Times article about the organization. Instead of distancing himself from the more troubling statements offered by his grandfather, he whitewashed them altogether.
Why would someone committed to pluralism, dialogue and honest discussion behave in such a way?