In an op-ed piece in the Washington Post dated August 28, 2004, Paul Donnelly is very upset that the "peaceful moderate" Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan was denied entry to the US.
In fact, Ramadan was supposed to start teaching last week as Henry Luce Professor at Notre Dame's Joan B. Kroc Center for International Peace Studies.
Reading Mr. Donnelly's piece, readers must have asked themselves why in the world would the State Department prevent such a grand, peaceful, educated scholar from entering our country. Obviously, either Mr. Donnelly is very naïve or did not do much research on Ramadan.
In my long article on Ramadan in May in The American Thinker, I exposed Ramadan's real face -- and it does not fit at all the profile Mr. Donnelly is drawing.
Let's review and refute one by one the most important "facts" advanced by Mr. Donnelly:
1- Tariq Ramadan's view of the world and Islam:
Mr. Donnelly, after mentionning correctly that Ramadan's grandfather was the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, explains that Ramadan is totally at odds with the Brotherhood's views of the world. Ramadan supposedly rejects the alienation of Islam from modernity.
Facts: Mr. Donnelly did not expand on the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization founded in 1928, is the ancestor of most Muslim terrorist organizations; the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas is one of their offshoots. Also, Said Ramadan, Tariq's father, was one of their leaders in the 1950's before being expelled by Egypt's then-ruler Nasser. Most European Secret Service agencies and others, including Antoine Sfeir, the very knowledgeable editor of the French magazine specializing in the Middle East, Les Cahiers de L'Orient, are also convinced that, at the end of the 1980's, the Muslim Brotherhood picked Tariq Ramadan to be their European representative.
But most importantly, Ramadan's view of the world is identical to that of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ramadan spent most of the 1990's in France, preaching to the young Muslim community, offering them the solution to their everyday problems: Islam. Coincidentally the slogan of the Muslim Brotherhood is: "Islam is the solution." Ramadan's concept worked very well and explains partly the radicalization of the young French Muslim community. For Ramadan, the West is in a moral decay, and should therefore not give moral advice to the Muslim world. Islam is going to represent the spiritual renewal of the world. He now symbolizes the view, as Jacques Jormier, one of the leading Islam experts, puts it: one "does not modernize Islam but Islamize modernity."
But if he is such a moderate, why, after having participated in so many seminars and interfaith debates, has Ramadan never, ever said anything positive about Christianity, Judaism or even the Western world? He calls the Arabs "my brothers and sisters" while all others are addressed as "madam," "sir," or with no honorifics at all. For example, when Ramadan recently faced-off with Nicolas Sarkozy, the French former Interior Minister, current Finance Minister, and probable successor of President Chirac, on a very popular French TV program, Ramadan showed his contempt of the Minister by repeatedly calling him just "Sarkozy" instead of the more appropriate "Mr. Sarkozy" or "Mr. Minister." During this debate, instead of condemning thestatement of his brother Hani that stoning a woman for adultery was acceptable, Tariq only said that he would ask for a moratorium on stoning.
If this is the view of a moderate, as Mr. Donnelly thinks, then we are in deep trouble….
Mr. Donnelly affirms that Ramadan has been falsely accused of what he calls "anti-Semitism", (putting it into scare quotes), de facto ruling that Mr. Ramadan is not anti-Semite at all. Mr. Donnelly mentions the article by Ramadan which started this controversy and goes on to cite the most complicated sentence of the article to prove his point. Here it is: "French Jewish intellectuals whom we had thought of until then as universalist thinkers [have started] to develop analyses increasingly oriented toward a communitarian concern."
Facts: In this piece, which was exceptionally turned-down by the two major left-leaning French newspapers Liberation and Le Monde -- five times for Le Monde alone -- because of its sulfurous stance, Ramadan blames Jewish intellectuals, even though one he cites is not Jewish, for their support to the war in Iraq, and also supposedly for Sharon's policies. He accuses them of placing their allegiance to Israel above their conscience. This comes as no surprise, since in his book, The Islam in Question, Ramadan clearly writes that he strongly favors the death of Israel, or rather of the "Zionist entity" -- the term used by Islamists who do not want utter the word Israel. Even a French DST (equivalent to our FBI) agent stated that Ramadan's long-term goal is to bring about Israel's death through a major Muslim lobbying campaign, first in Europe then in the US.
So, if this is not the talk of an anti-Semite what is, Mr. Donnelly?
Mr. Donnelly then refutes all the facts about Ramadan's stance and action on terrorism. According to him, Ramadan never knew bin Laden; he is not also responsible because terrorists attended his classes and he never arranged a meeting between al Qaeda deputy Zawahiri and Omar Abdel Rahman in Geneva in 1991. And last, he never denied al Qaeda's involvement in the September 11 attacks. Interestingly enough, when Donnelly called Ramadan about this last fact, here is what Ramadan had to say: "I said to the Muslims after it happened, don't try to say 'we don't know who did this.' I said this from the very beginning, from Sept. 13, just two days later, even though we didn't know then exactly who did it -- but we know. They were some Muslims."
It does not sound to me as a clear acknowledgement of al Qaeda's culpability in the attacks. So, even Mr. Donnelly cannot get Ramadan to admit the facts.
Facts: In an interview on September 22, 2001 Ramadan explained with his usual gifted vagueness that he couldn't say for sure that bin Laden is behind the attacks. He then asked the question:" who profits from the crime?" and answered that no Arab or Muslim cause would be better off. This is weirdly the argument of Islamists who accused Israel and the Jews of being the masterminds of the September 11 atrocities. In an interview with French newsmagazine Le Point, Ramadan evoked what he called the "interventions of New York, Bali or Madrid". So, September 11 was not a terrorist attack, it was rather just an "intervention." Of course, nowhere in this interview did Ramadan condemn terrorism.
According to Le Nouvel Observateur of January 29, 2004, Said Ramadan, Tariq's father, was one of the founders of the World Islamic League, a Saudi charity organization, whose goal is to spread worldwide the Islamic faith. His philosophy helped build the minds of a lot of rich Muslim kids; one of them happened to be Osama bin Laden.
Ramadan's links to terrorism are multiple: In 1995, in the midst of a series of terrorist attacks in Paris orchestrated by the GIA -- the Algerian Islamist terrorist movement -- Charles Pasqua, French Interior Minister, forbade Ramadan entrance to France because of his links to the Algerian terrorist group.
His elder brother, Hani, is the director of Geneva's Islamic Center. The Swiss Secret Service thinks that this Center is used to receive terrorists from the Algerian GIA or some "Afghan Arabs." Supposedly, Tariq claims he is not involved with the Center. But that would not explain why he is still sitting on the Board of Directors.
According to Roland Jacquard, President of the International Observatory of Terrorism, Ramadan is not directly involved in terrorist activities but most of his supporters are. His links to shady individuals or networks are numerous. According to the French daily newspaper, Le Monde, he is suspected of having links with al Qaeda. In fact, Ramadan is said to have organized a meeting back in 1991 between Ayman al Zawahiri, Al Qaeda's number two, and Omar Abdel Rahman, plotter of the first World Trade Center bombing. Other troubling allegations can be found in a lawsuit filed by the victims of the September 11 attacks: Ramadan greatly influenced Djamel Beghal, a French citizen arrested for plotting to bomb the US Embassy in Paris and Ahmed Brahim, an al Qaeda member arrested in Spain. Additionally, Abdessatar Dahmane, who spent most of his time listening to Ramadan's conferences and tapes, is a Tunisian involved in the killing of Massoud, the Chief of the Afghan Northern Alliance, whose mortal enemies are Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden, on September 9, 2001.
Also the Islamic Center of Geneva, headed by Ramadan's brother, is linked to al Taqwa Bank, which is one of the financial institutions that was used by al Qaeda. Al Taqwa Bank's assets were frozen after September 11, and the families of the victims are suing it.
Of course, Ramadan strongly denies these allegations of association with terrorists, but Ahmed Hubert, a Holocaust-denying Swiss citizen, converted to Islam by the Center, and also a board member of the Bank, acknowledges that al Taqwa was donating money to the Center. Furthermore, and even more troublesome, is that Said Ramadan was the founder of this bank, and the current president is none other than Youssef Nada, the Muslim Brotherhood's treasurer.
A few days ago, in an interview with Swiss TV, Jean Charles Brisard, one of the most respected terrorism experts, explained that Ramadan participated at a conference this summer in London with Yussef al Qaradawi, who justified the September 11 attacks along with suicide bombings in general. Brisard added that Ramadan needed to be closely watched because of the influence he has in possibly radicalizing some Muslims. Ramadan refused to debate Mr. Brisard, does he have something to hide?
Even though Ramadan cannot be charged with terrorism, it is clear that his speeches and tapes, broadcasted in a lot of European mosques, constitute an incitement to terrorism against the West. He supplies moral support for terrorism, and therefore should be viewed as a very dangerous man because of the numerous terrorists his views foster.
Is that enough evidence for Mr. Donnelly to reconsider what he thinks about the "moderate" Muslim scholar Ramadan?
Last and most outrageously, especially in light of all the facts about Ramadan, Mr. Donnelly dares calling him "a Muslim Martin Luther". This is scandalous and a disgrace to the memory of that real peace-loving man who was Martin Luther.
It is mind-boggling that some are still ignoring the facts and falling for the smooth double language of a dangerous fanatic. Ramadan is a charmer whose new victims are Mr. Donnelly and Notre Dame University. Even in France, now, his public gaffes have revealed him for good as another Islamist. The mask has fallen and the real Ramadan is out. That is why the Department of Homeland Security made the right decision in advising the State Department to revoke Ramadan's visa.