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Tariq Ramadan, Long the Civilized Face of European Islamism, Now Faces Multiple Allegations of Sexual Abuse

Feb. 13 2018

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.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: European Islam, France, Islamism, Muslim Brotherhood, Politics & Current Affairs, Sexual ethics, Tariq Ramadan

Hannah Arendt, Adolf Eichmann, and the Jews

Feb. 23 2018

In 1963—a year after Adolf Eichmann’s sentencing by an Israeli court—reports on the trial by the German-born Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt appeared in the New Yorker and were soon published as a book. This “report on the banality of evil,” as the book was subtitled, outraged many Jews, including many of her erstwhile friends and admirers, on account of her manifest contempt for the entire preceding, her disgust for the state of Israel, her accusation that a wide array of European Jewish leaders (if not the majority of the victims) were complicit in their own murder, and her bizarre insistence that Eichmann was “not a monster,” or even an anti-Semite, but a mindless, faceless bureaucrat. While extensive evidence has been brought to light that Arendt was wrong both in her claims of Jewish passivity and her evaluation of Eichmann as the head of the SS’s Jewish section, her book remains widely read and admired. Ruth Wisse comments on its enduring legacy:

When Arendt volunteered to report on the Eichmann trial, it was presumed that she was doing so in her role as a Jew. . . . But Arendt actually traveled to Jerusalem for a deeper purpose—to reclaim Eichmann for German philosophy. She did not exonerate Nazism and in fact excoriated the postwar Adenauer government for not doing enough to punish known Nazi killers, but she rehabilitated the German mind and demonstrated how that could be done by going—not beyond, but around, good and evil. She came to erase Judaism philosophically, to complicate its search for moral clarity, and to unseat a conviction [that, in Saul Bellow’s words], “everybody . . . knows what murder is.”

Arendt was to remain the heroine of postmodernists, deconstructionists, feminists, relativists, and internationalist ideologues who deny the stability of Truth. Not coincidentally, many of them have also disputed the rights of the sovereign Jewish people to its national homeland. Indeed, as anti-Zionism cemented the coalition of leftists, Arabs, and dissident minorities, Arendt herself was conscripted, sometimes unfairly and in ways she might have protested, as an ally in their destabilizing cause. They were enchanted by her “perversity” and were undeterred in their enthusiasm by subsequent revelations, like those of the historian Bernard Wasserstein, who documented Arendt’s scholarly reliance on anti-Semitic sources in her study of totalitarianism, or of revelations about her resumed friendship with Martin Heidegger despite his Nazi associations.

At the same time, however, the Arendt report on the Eichmann trial became one of the catalysts for something no one could have predicted—an intellectual movement that came to be known as neoconservatism. A cohort of writers and thinkers, many of them Jews from immigrant families who had turned to leftism as naturally as calves to their mother’s teats, but who had slowly moved away from the Marxism of their youth during the Stalin years and World War II, now spotted corruption and dishonesty and something antithetical to them in some of their very models of the intellectual life.

They and their Gentile colleagues had constituted the only European-style intelligentsia to flourish in America. Most of them were only one generation removed from Europe, after all, so what could be more natural than for them to serve as the conduit of European intelligence to America? Arendt’s ingenious twist of the Eichmann trial showed them how Jewish and American they actually were—and how morally clear they aspired to be.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Adolf Eichmann, Hannah Arendt, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Neoconservatism, New York Intellectuals