Tariq Ramadan on Tuesday announced his latest project—the creation of CHIFA, a research and training center for students around the world.
Topics of study will include religion, spirituality, humanism, psychology, ecology, and teaching. CHIFA will also offer courses on colonialism, racism, law, and economics.
Most notable on the curriculum, however, are ethics and feminism.
While Tariq Ramadan may be a renowned academic, philosopher, and writer, these two words in CHIFA's proposed curriculum set the internet ablaze.
Ramadan is currently in the middle of a major scandal involving allegations of multiple sexual misconduct. He was indicted for four rapes and spent ten months in pre-trial detention before being released in November 2018. He has denied all accusations, invoking Islamophobia and racism.
In March 2019, Ramadan attended a conference held in Seine-Saint-Denis, France that countered violence against women. Some believe he may have been laying the groundwork for his denouncement of the allegations.
French-Swiss Journalist Ian Hamel tweeted his outrage at the center's announcement, comparing Ramadan to one of the US's most prominent sexual predators currently in the national spotlight, Harvey Weinstein.
"Harvey Weinstein hadn't even thought about it, but Tariq Ramadan himself dared to create a training center giving courses in feminism and ethics! Do you want to know what this individual is capable of?" Hamel demanded.
Many have accused Ramadan as using the center to continue to prey on his victims.
"A recruiting center? Is he getting old to hunt on his own?" tweeted Journalist Daniel Fleury.
It would seem, starting a center aimed at teaching ethics and feminism is not a smart move for someone with such a tarnished reputation. In today's "cancel culture" and #MeToo movements, Tariq Ramadan's CHIFA center brings to question his entire career.
"Do we laugh or cry? The intellectual dishonesty, hypocrisy, and cynicism of #TariqRamadan have absolutely no limits," voiced teacher and researcher, Anne-Marie Picard.
Tariq Ramdan's CHIFA center
The Swiss Muslim was formerly a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University. He holds an MA in Philosophy and French literature and a Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Geneva.
Ramadan's personal research interests include the issues of Islamic legislation, politics, ethics, Sufism, and contemporary Islamic challenges. CHIFA's curriculum will be just as eclectic.
Tariq Ramadan announced the opening of the center through a Facebook post, noting that "[t]he concept of 'CHIFA', in Arabic, has several meanings and covers several realities," including the "physical, spiritual, and even social."
The eclectic curriculum intends to address each of these aspects of health.
According to Ramadan, "the quest for 'full health' – physical, psychic and spiritual health – requires a return to the source... back to yourself."
Tariq Ramadan will open the doors of his CHIFA center in mid-October. The center will welcome its students in person or online, taking current pandemic social distance suggestions into consideration.
With nearly a dozen teachers on staff throughout the year, students can complete their training in three years.
CHIFA's social approach
According to Tariq Ramadan, the CHIFA center also plans to develop in parallel with its research and teaching program an association committed to "concrete and everyday social work."
"It will focus on prison reality, migrant support and encouraging education around the world. It will be as much about gathering testimonies as about raising funds to support migrants or providing school materials," Ramadan said.
"A percentage (15 %) of our students' registration fees will be directly assigned to this solidarity fund," he added. "This concrete commitment will complement the holistic approach we call for our wishes by properly balancing the theoretical and practical approaches."