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.

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

The U.S. Must Maintain the Kurdish Enclave in Eastern Syria

Aug. 16 2018

Presently only two rebel enclaves remain in Syria, and both are dependent on outside powers: one in the northwest, under Turkish control, and an area in the east controlled by the U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Only by continuing its support for the latter can America prevent Iranian domination of Syria, writes Jonathan Spyer. Officials in Washington have made various statements suggesting that the White House has no intention of ceding the country to Iran, but haven’t clarified what this means in practice:

Actions . . . are a better guide than sentiments. And it appears that the SDF leaders remain skeptical regarding America’s long-term plans. Last week, the first direct negotiations took place between their representatives and those of the Assad regime, in Damascus.

It is not quite clear where things are heading. But Israel’s interest in this is clear. Maintenance of the east Syrian enclave and the [U.S.] base in Tanf means keeping a substantial physical obstacle to the Iranian hope for a contiguous corridor [connecting it to Lebanon via Syria and Iraq]. It would also prevent an overall Iranian triumph in the war and give the West a place at the table in any substantive political negotiation over Syria’s future. . . .

Specifically, efforts should be made to ensure a formal U.S. declaration of a no-fly zone for regime and regime-allied aircraft east of the Euphrates. This move, reminiscent of the no-fly zone declared over Iraqi Kurdistan after the Gulf War of 1991, would with one stroke ensure the continued viability of the SDF-controlled area. There should also be a formal recognition of the SDF zone, or the “Democratic Federation of Northern Syria,” as it is formally known. This entity is not seeking independence from Damascus, so Western concerns regarding the formal breakup of Syria need not be raised by such a move.

As the strategic contest between Iran and its allies and the U.S. and its allies in the Middle East moves into high gear, it is essential that the West maintain its alliances and investments and behaves, and is seen to behave, as a credible and loyal patron and ally.

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More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Kurds, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy