In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein affair in the U.S., a French journalist encouraged her countrywomen to denounce the men who had mistreated them. Soon thereafter, several women, most of them Muslim, accused the Swiss political philosopher Tariq Ramadan of rape and battery. He has since been charged with two counts of rape by a French court. Dominic Green comments:
Tariq Ramadan is . . . not just an Oxford professor and sought-after lecturer and talking head. He is . . . the most visible proselytizer for radical European Islam. Since the early 1990s, he has positioned himself as a one-man peacekeeping force in the clash of civilizations, performing a kind of shuttle diplomacy between Western liberalism and Islamism.
As the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ramadan possesses hereditary legitimacy. He is a prince of Islamism. But, born and educated in multilingual Geneva, he is also a European. He trims his beard short and wears Armani suits. He fluently discusses the crisis of Christianity in Dostoyevsky and Nietzsche. He speaks the language of natural rights and citizenship and insists that Europe’s secular universalism is compatible with the theological universalism of Islamic tradition.
The tensions and contradictions in Ramadan’s public persona are more than philosophical. He has counseled Tony Blair and the European Union on the harmony of Islamic and Western values. But he aligns Islam with “resistance”—with anti-capitalism, anti-Americanism, and anti-Zionism, a message that has long endeared him to the French left. . . .
Ramadan also denies that he is a conduit for terrorist recruitment, but his romantic patter to “Christelle”—[a physically disabled woman who has credibly claimed he raped and beat her, and won’t use her real name for fear of retaliation]—included sweet nothings like “Are you ready to fight for Allah, and for your brothers and sisters in Palestine?” . . .
Ramadan’s defense against the charges of being a fork-tongued fundamentalist—speaking one language in public and another in private—has always been that his character is as ethically consistent as his philosophical statements. He made himself into a test case. Now his character is on trial and, along with it, the characters of his Islamist associates and his left-wing European supporters.
Sign Up For Our E-Mail List Get the latest from Mosaic right in your inbox
Sign up now for unlimited access